CHICAGO — James Harden narrowly missed his first triple-double of the season, finishing with 42 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Houston Rockets pulled away in the second half and beat the Chicago Bulls 117-94 on Saturday night.
Russell Westbrook scored 26 points as the Rockets won their third straight.
Harden, the NBA’s leading scorer who has 35 regular-season triple-doubles in his career, had several minutes of garbage time in the fourth quarter to get additional assists, but was unsuccessful before leaving with a little more than three minutes remaining.
Harden entered the game averaging 36.5 points on 38.7% shooting, including 27% on 3-pointers.
Wendell Carter Jr. had 13 points and 16 rebounds for Chicago, which has dropped six of eight.
The Bulls were a woeful 4-for-32 shooting from 3-point range.
Chicago led 27-20 after one quarter behind eight points from Lauri Markkanen and eight Houston turnovers.
The Bulls led by nine points (31-22) early in the second before the Rockets used a 24-7 run to take control and open a 46-38 lead with four minutes left in the first half. Harden had nine points during the run.
Chicago closed within 50-49 at halftime on a 3-pointer by Zach LaVine. That was the Bulls second make in 17 first-half attempts from long range. Houston quickly reclaimed control with a 30-9 run in the opening 9:41 of the third, taking an 80-58 advantage.
The Rockets had an 86-67 lead entering the fourth, helped by 7-for-14 shooting from 3-pointers range in the third. Harden led the way with 11 points in the quarter.
The Bulls couldn’t get closer than 14 points in the fourth quarter.