NEW YORK — Even an offense as potent as Houston’s can go cold during the long NBA winter.
“It happens,” James Harden said. “But as long as we stay at an even level, we just continue to get better, continue to learn from our mistakes, we’ll be all right.”
Especially against a defenseless team like Brooklyn.
Harden had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 12th triple-double of the season and the Rockets easily ended their first losing streak by beating the Nets 137-112 on Sunday night.
Held to 105 points in losses to Minnesota and Memphis, the Rockets bounced back with 104 after three quarters and handed the Nets their 10th straight loss.
Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points and Trevor Ariza added 23. Houston made 21 3-pointers and had five players with at least 16 points.
Houston shot just 40.8 percent during its two losses, well below its 46.8 season average, while being held nearly 10 points below its season scoring average. But the Rockets had no trouble bouncing back against the Nets, who allow an NBA-worst 114.3 per game.
“We just could never stop them,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I don’t think we stopped them the whole night.”
The Rockets matched their season high with a 74-point first half, though the Nets hung with them pretty well and only trailed by eight. Houston opened the third quarter with a 13-2 run to build an 87-68 cushion that grew to 20 later in the period when Harden found Sam Dekker with an alley-oop pass.
Trevor Booker scored 18 points for the Nets, who were still without Jeremy Lin (strained left hamstring) on the night they gave out his bobblehead and also rested Brook Lopez.
Ariza, just 1 for 6 from 3-point range in a loss to the Grizzlies on Friday, was 6 for 10 on Sunday. Harden, Gordon and Patrick Beverley all made four.
“It’s just about rhythm and tonight our rhythm was there,” Ariza said.