(AP) – Austin Rivers scored a career-high 41 points off the bench and the Houston Rockets used a big third quarter to pull away and cruise to a 129-112 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
“He’s been playing well and obviously, tonight was his night," coach Mike D'Antoni said. “He played great."
Rivers made six 3-pointers as Houston improved to 4-1 at Disney on a night the Rockets played a second straight game without Russell Westbrook, who has a bruised right quadriceps.
“I believe I’m a premier scorer. That’s just how I feel," Rivers said. “But I’m on a team where that’s not required of me. Every night I play with the best scorer in the NBA, and I play with one of the other best scorers too with James (Harden) and Russ. So you’ve got to play a role and buy in. That's what winning basketball is."
Harden added 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Houston.
The Kings fell to 1-5 in the bubble after being eliminated from playoff contention earlier Sunday when Portland beat the 76ers. Sacramento’s playoff drought is now 14 years, which is the longest active streak in the NBA.
“We have to understand and change our mindset as far as what it takes to win," Sacramento coach Luke Walton said. “The main thing I hope we take from this whole bubble experience is learning that lesson firsthand and playing these type of games night in and night out."
De’Aaron Fox had 26 points for the Kings.