orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Sports Headlines

April 15, 2013

Harden scores 29 as Rockets beat Kings 121-100

HOUSTON — James Harden thinks the Houston Rockets have only some minor tinkering to do before the playoffs begin. Otherwise, everything seems to be working fine.

Harden had 29 points and nine assists, Omer Asik had 10 points and 12 rebounds and Houston cruised to a 121-100 win over the Sacramento Kings in the Rockets' regular-season home finale Sunday night.

Jeremy Lin added 15 points for the Rockets, who've won nine of their last 12 home games. The playoffs start this weekend, and Harden says the Rockets just need to refine minor details between now and then.

"It's about improving our small things, little detailed things," Harden said. "I don't think the home-run plays are going to get us over the top. I think the small things are going to help us be successful in this postseason."

The Rockets climbed into sixth place in the Western Conference. They have the same record as Golden State (45-35) but own the tiebreaker after winning the season series with the Warriors 3-1. Houston plays Phoenix on Monday and finishes the regular season against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

Chandler Parsons, who sat out the previous four games with a strained right calf, says the Rockets want to win out and secure their highest possible seed, regardless of the matchup. If the playoffs started now, the Rockets would face Denver, which won all four regular-season matchups.

"Those four games are over with," Parsons said, "and it's tough to beat a team eight times in one season. I'm confident, no matter who we play."

The Rockets didn't get caught looking ahead against the lowly Kings, building an 18-point halftime lead. Harden had 23 points at the break on 9-of-11 shooting, with his only 3-pointer early in the third quarter extending the lead to 24.

Parsons was the first starter to come out, departing with 5:06 left in the third quarter and Houston leading 82-56. Harden was the only starter who played more than 30 minutes and joined the others on the bench for the fourth.

The Rockets have won six of eight overall.

"I think we're clicking at the perfect time," Parsons said. "We're playing so unselfishly, we're playing for each other, we're all on the same page and know our roles and our responsibilities. I think we can't be playing any better than we are right now."

John Salmons scored 14 points and Isaiah Thomas had 10 points and 10 assists for the Kings.

"That wasn't really a fun event there," Kings coach Keith Smart said.

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