James Harden claim made by Knicks coach David Fizdale after career-high night for Rockets

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Fizdale was ejected from the game during the Knicks’ 114-110 loss to the Houston Rockets

Harden scored a career-high 61 points at Madison Square Garden and in the process tied with Kobe Bryant’s scoring record for the most points from an opposing player in New York.

The game was over when Harden finished a breakaway lay-up with 3.8 seconds remaining on the clock after the Knicks turned the ball over at half-court during the final moments of the fourth quarter.

Harden also added 15 rebounds and four assists to his scoring total on the night.

He has now scored at least 30 points in 21 consecutive games, which is the fourth-longest such streak in NBA history.

Harden is only behind Wilt Chamberlain, who holds the top three records at, 25, 31 and 65 straight games, with the highest feat being set during the 1961-62 season.

Knicks coach Fizdale heaped praise on Harden’s all-round contribution to the Rockets victory after the final buzzer.

“Ask the next team that is playing him, as I don’t know,” Fizdale said about how to stop Harden.

“I just felt like every time the ball leaves his hands its got a chance to go in.

“And that’s greatness.

“The guy is a great player, he didn’t just score tonight, he had 15 rebounds. He was going after this win, five steals, four assists.

“I thought we really challenged him and got after him.

“We got five turnovers out of him, but he is just great. He got up 38 shots and 25 free throws.”

The Knicks, who are now 10-36, are not having a great campaign and so might take something from still having a chance of coming away with a victory up until the final buzzer.

However, the Knicks did play the final moments of the game without coach Fizdale on the sidelines.

The 44 year-old was given his second technical foul and ejected from the game with 1:08 to go in the fourth quarter.

But for Fizdale, he claims he doesn’t understand why it happened.

“I don’t know why I got ejected,” he said after the game.

“I wasn’t necessarily upset, I was into the game and battling for my guys.”

He was asked if he had issues with some of the fouls called on Harden during the course of the night.

“I disputed some,” he said.

“I don’t know if I was right or wrong. I felt like I was right on the ones I disputed.

“They disagreed.”

Harden finished on 17-of-38 from the floor, but was only five-of-20 on three-pointers.

He was more consistent from the free-throw line, dropping 22-of-25 attempts.

The Rockets’ next game is at home, where they will host the Toronto Raptors on Friday and the Knicks have a short trip across the city to face their local rivals the Brooklyn Nets.

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