Harden scratched from Rockets’ lineup vs. Pelicans

NBA Basketball
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NEW ORLEANS (AP)James Harden has been scratched from the Houston Rockets’ lineup Sunday night against the recently surging New Orleans Pelicans.

Harden had been listed as questionable with a right toe sprain after scoring 44 points in Houston’s 108-98 home victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night. Harden also has knee swelling stemming from a collision in that game, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.

D’Antoni said Harden, who has yet to miss a game this season, probably could play through the pain, ”but given the circumstances, it’s better that he doesn’t. He’s banged up a little bit and it’s better that he sits.”

That left Houston without three prominent players against a Pelicans squad that has won three straight and four of five.

Guard Russell Westbrook already was scheduled to sit out for rest and center Clint Capela was out with a right heel bruise.

Returning to the Rockets’ lineup is former New Orleans guard Eric Gordon, who has been out since having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in mid-November. He’ll start alongside Pelicans 2012 first-round draft choice Austin Rivers in Houston’s back court.

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