James Harden scored 23 of his game-high 33 points in the first quarter of Houston’s 115-88 Monday night win against the visiting Philadelphia Sixers.

The Rockets’ superstar guard also added nine assists and seven boards.

Harden had registered a triple-double in each of his last two games.

Per the AP:

“We came in, made shots and defensively really locked in and didn’t give them any confidence early in the game,” Harden said. “They’ve had a couple of games where they’ve lost down the stretch against some really good teams, especially at home. So it was important for us to go out there and take advantage of the opportunity.”

 

The Rockets had a three-point lead with five minutes left in the first quarter when Harden took over, scoring all of Houston’s points in a 17-9 surge to make it 35-24. Harden, who was named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday, made a pair of 3s, all three shots after being fouled on a 3-pointer and a nifty reverse layup in that span.

 

He made each of the eight shots he attempted in the quarter to set a career high for points in a period. […] “The first quarter was ridiculous,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said.