Harden, Rockets entertain Davis, Pelicans

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(SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden and the Houston Rockets attempt to join the 20-win club when they open a three-game homestand Thursday versus Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Rockets will also entertain Atlanta and Portland at the Toyota Center, and have a 9-3 record in Space City.

Houston is 19-5 this season and has won three straight and 10 of the last 12 games, including Wednesday's 115-111 overtime triumph versus the Denver Nuggets. Harden continued his scoring touch with 41 points and scored eight straight in overtime to lead the way.

Harden leads the NBA with 26.9 points per game and is averaging 35.8 ppg in his previous four contests.

"I couldn't throw a rock in the ocean in those first 40-plus minutes of the game," Harden said. "But I just have the confidence. I work on my shot every day. Confidence is a big thing. My teammates have confidence in me to shoot the basketball and I shot it."

Dwight Howard added 24 points and 16 rebounds in his second game back from a knee injury for the Rockets. Patrick Beverley posted 12 points and 12 boards.

The Rockets are third in opponents' scoring at 95.9 points and third in opponents' field goal percentage (29.4).

New Orleans went 2-1 on a recent homestand and won for the fourth time in six tries with Tuesday's 119-111 victory over the Utah Jazz. Ryan Anderson scored 13 of his 28 points in a decisive fourth quarter and New Orleans posted a 41-22 advantage in the final period.

The Pelicans made 14-of-21 from the field in the fourth quarter, while the Jazz connected on just 7-of-24 shots. Davis, who missed Sunday's overtime loss against Golden State with a bruised chest, scored 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting and pulled down nine rebounds for the victors. His three blocks all came in the fourth quarter.

"I thought their energy gave us a bit of a jolt tonight," Pelicans head coach Monty Williams said.

Williams' reserves scored a 52-27 advantage and the entire team made 59.5 percent for the game. The Pelicans are 12-0 when outshooting the opponent and 12-5 when scoring 100 or more points. That could be a tough mark to reach against Houston's improved defense.

The Pelicans have a 4-9 road record.

New Orleans and Houston will play the first of four meetings this season, and the Rockets went 3-1 in the 2013-14 series. Pelicans center Omer Asik spent the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons with Houston.

The Rockets are unbeaten in the last six games as the host in this series.