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Harden, Rockets open trip at Kings

Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden has scored 30 or more points three times in the last eight games and is fifth in the NBA with 26.0 ppg this season.

Harden and the Rockets will depart Space City for three straight contests, starting with Sunday's showdown against the Sacramento Kings.

The bearded left-hander has posted back-to-back games with 35 or more points and is averaging 26.9 ppg in the previous eight. Harden led the Rockets to a 118-103 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers with a game-high 35 points and also handed out five assists.

"Teammates are knocking down shots and it's tough to guard us," Harden said after his 15th game of 30-plus points. "When my teammates are knocking down shots, I'm getting easy layups, so it was a good team effort tonight."

Harden dumped in 36 points in Wednesday's loss at Miami.

Chandler Parsons added 20 points, while Patrick Patterson and Jeremy Lin finished with 16 points apiece for the Rockets, who have won six of their last eight contests. Houston outscored the Blazers, 52-38, in the paint and made 59.5 percent of its shots.

In injury news for Houston, guard Tony Douglas (hip) is doubtful for Sunday.

The Rockets will also visit the Warriors and Clippers on the road trip and are 10-16 as the guest. They have dropped two in a row away from home.

Meanwhile, the Kings are coming off Saturday's 120-109 victory over the Utah Jazz in the opener of a quick two-game residency.

Isaiah Thomas netted 25 points and Marcus Thornton added 24 for Sacramento, which halted a four-game slide and won for the second time in 10 tries. Jason Thompson contributed 21 points and DeMarcus Cousins added 13 with a game-best 11 rebounds for his 22nd double-double as the Kings avenged a 98-91 overtime loss at Utah on Monday.

"We were energized and looked like a totally different team," said Thomas. "Especially on the offensive end, we were sharing the ball, we were smiling, everything. It was good for us."

Thomas is averaging 18.5 ppg in the last four games.

The Kings, who are playing four games in five nights, are 13-12 in California's capital city this season. The last time they had home games on consecutive nights was on April 2, 2012 versus Minnesota and April 3 versus Phoenix.

Sacramento lost all three meetings with Houston a season ago and is 3-11 in the previous 14 matchups between the Western foes. The Rockets have won four straight at the Kings.