(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets will try to build some momentum Friday night when they visit the Smoothie King Center to face the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Rockets ended a two-game slide in impressive fashion on Wednesday. They clobbered the over-matched Charlotte Hornets, 102-83, thanks to a big night from James Harden.
The MVP candidate made a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 36 points to lead the Rockets. Harden also had seven rebounds and six assists for the Rockets and has scored at least 28 points in his last five games. He leads the NBA with 27.7 ppg.
"I felt real comfortable. My shot felt good all night," Harden said.
Patrick Beverley and Donatas Motiejunas added 14 and 12 points, respectively, for Houston, which went 17-of-43 from beyond the arc. Dwight Howard contributed 11 points and eight rebounds.
The newest Rockets - Josh Smith and Corey Brewer - didn't do much on Wednesday. They scored five points each on a combined 4-for-15 shooting, but the Rockets did the job on defense.
Houston held the Hornets to 38.2 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from long range. The Rockets forced 18 turnovers and are third in opponents' scoring and fifth in opponents' field goal percentage.
"Their defense is good, really good actually," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.
The Pelicans have alternated wins and losses over their last eight games to stay at .500. New Orleans has won two straight in the Big Easy, but lost last time out.
The Pelicans fell Wednesday in San Antonio, 95-93, in overtime against the defending champion Spurs.
New Orleans had taken an 84-82 edge on Anthony Davis' second-chance slam with 0.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Pelicans' Omer Asik inadvertently tipped in Boris Diaw's inbounds pass for Tim Duncan as the buzzer sounded to force extra time.
The Pelicans recovered to start the overtime strong, putting forth a 7-2 run capped by Davis' steal that led to a run-out layup by Jimmer Fredette that gave New Orleans a 91-86 advantage.
Manu Ginobili scored the next five points, however, and Danny Green blocked Tyreke Evans going to the hoop and was fouled on the rebound with 40.3 seconds to play. He hit 1-of-2 free throws to put San Antonio up 91-90.
Davis then took matters into his own hands, going strong to the basket and converting a layup while being fouled with 36.7 seconds on the clock.
He missed the free throw, however, and Tim Duncan found a cutting Ginobili on the ensuing possession for the go-ahead points. Evans then misfired on a 3- point try and Duncan came down with the rebound to seal the outcome.
"I just feel bad for our guys," said Pelicans head coach Monty Williams. "To fight like we did on a back-to-back and have the game in your hands and losing it in regulation like that, then fighting like heck in overtime and not be able to pull it out."
Davis had 21 points, 12 boards and four steals to pace the Pelicans. Ryan Anderson also recorded a double-double for New Orleans, amassing 18 points and 11 rebounds. Jrue Holiday posted 13 points and nine assists in the loss.
The Pelicans beat the Rockets in Houston on Dec. 18 and have won two straight in this series. New Orleans has won four of its last six hosting Houston.