Houston Rockets down San Antonio Spurs, 109-93, as James Harden returns


And these Spurs - even with LaMarcus Aldridge (sore knee) and Manu Ginobili (rest), who both sat out against the Rockets - look nothing like the perennial contenders who have made the playoffs each of the previous 20 seasons, the third-longest postseason streak in National Basketball Association history.

They now hold a two-game advantage over Golden State in the loss column heading into the final few weeks of the regular season.

Eric Gordon scored 26 points and Chris Paul had 24 points and 12 assists as the Houston Rockets, playing without James Harden, beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-82 on Sunday night.The Rockets rested Harden because of a sore left knee, but had plenty of 3-point shooting even without their MVP candidate.Houston, which had its 17-game win streak snapped Friday in Toronto, broke the game open in the third quarter by hitting their first six 3s of the period amid a 22-10 run.

The Spurs will enter Monday just one-half game ahead of a three-way tie for eighth, with the Los Angeles Clippers (36-29) now holding the tiebreaker over the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz (both 37-30).

At 51-16, the Warriors sit 1.5 games behind the Rockets for the No. 1 seed.

BT Sport is the exclusive home of the National Basketball Association in the United Kingdom for the 2017/18 season.

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) dribbles the ball up court defended by LA Clippers guard Sindarius Thornwell (0) during the third quarter at Staples Center.

The Rockets have won both matchups against the Spurs this season, including an 11-point victory the last time these teams met. Houston covered as a 2.5-point favorite and the game finished with a total of 193 points, which was 15.5 points below the projected point total of 208.5 points.

More news: Khloé Kardashian Offers Inside Look at Her Beautiful Baby Shower

numberFire's models project Gordon for 23.1 FanDuel points in 27.4 minutes of action on Monday. Harrison Barnes added 14.

Russell Westbrook scored 17 points and notched his 20th triple-double of the season to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Sacramento Kings 106-101 on Monday night.

Marc Gasol tallied 17 points for Memphis, who own the NBA's worst record at 18-49.

Westbrook had 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the 99th triple-double of his career. He leads the league in second-half scoring.

Paul George and Carmelo Anthony each scored 21 points for the Thunder, who moved into fourth place in the Western Conference standings.

Bogdan Bogdanovic recorded 19 points and eight rebounds for the lowly Kings.

Miami was without starting center Hassan Whiteside (hip) and sixth man Dwyane Wade (hamstring).