By KRISTIE RIEKEN , AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 31 points for his 30th straight 30-point game despite dealing with a shoulder injury, leading the Houston Rockets to a 120-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.
Harden, who had eight rebounds and seven assists, seemed to be a bit slowed early by the strained left shoulder that he injured on Saturday against Oklahoma City, making just one of his first seven shots. But he warmed up after that and finished 9 of 23, capped by his sixth 3-pointer with less than a minute left to put him over 30 and keep the streak going. Fans chanted “MVP! MVP!” after he sunk the step back over Dorian Finney-Smith.
He’s now just one game from tying Wilt Chamberlain for the second-longest streak of 30-point games in NBA history. Chamberlain also holds the top 30-point game streak with 65 in a row.
Houston had a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter and was up 106-90 when Harden entered the game for the first time in the period with about 6 1/2 minutes left. The Mavericks went on a 7-0 run after that, with a 3-pointer from Jalen Brunson, to get within 106-97 with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
Harden heated up after that, making two 3-pointers in a 9-3 run to extend the lead to 115-100 with about 2 minutes left and put the game out of reach.
Luka Doncic had 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Mavericks, who lost for the first time this season to Houston after winning the first two meetings.
Chris Paul added 17 points with 11 assists, and Gerald Green scored 19 points with five 3-pointers to help Houston to its fourth win in five games.
The Rockets were up by 14 at halftime and Harden scored seven points in the first few minutes of the third quarter to help push the lead to 76-58. Harden later dished to Green for a 3-pointer to make it 85-66.
The Mavericks scored the next eight points, capped by a 3 from Finney-Smith just before the shot clocked expired, to get within 85-74 with 2 minutes left in the third.
Green had a layup after that to end the scoring streak by Dallas and the Rockets had a 92-78 lead at the end of three.
Mavericks: Dwight Powell scored 12 points. … Brunson had 13 points and five rebounds. … Dallas made 13 of 36 3-pointers.
Rockets: Kenneth Faried had 17 points and eight rebounds. Eric Gordon scored 18 points. … Iman Shumpert had six points in his second game in Houston since a trade last week. … Paul moved into eighth place on the career assists list with 8,972. … Houston made 23 3-pointers.
Mavericks: Host Miami on Wednesday night.
Rockets: Visit Minnesota on Wednesday night.