Wesley Matthews

Gordon, Paul lead Harden-less Rockets past Mavericks 105-82

When the Houston Rockets' MVP candidate needs a night off, they can simply elevate the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year to the starting lineup.

Or turn the ball over to an eight-time all-NBA point guard.

That's why they have the best record in the league — as Houston showed without James Harden on Sunday night. Eric Gordon scored 26 points and Chris Paul had 24 points and 12 assists as the Rockets beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-82.

Harden sat because of a sore left knee, but the team had plenty of 3-point shooting even without him.

"What's that? Thirty points a night?" Paul said of Harden's absence. "But it just gave other guys an opportunity to...