HOUSTON — After the Houston Rockets easily downed the San Antonio Spurs, James Harden was asked about his team taking care of business against a team missing its top players.

The All-Star was quick to point out that despite already clinching a playoff berth, this team has many more goals ahead.

"We don't have the luxury of just taking nights off," he said. "We're not where we want to be. We're not that good yet. So we have to go out there and approach every single game, no matter who we're playing, like it's a playoff game. We're 15 games away, so it's time to take it serious."

Harden scored 16 of his 28 points in the third quarter to allow the Rockets to build a huge lead and sail to a 109-93 victory Monday night.

The NBA's leading scorer took a little while to get going a night after sitting out against Dallas with a sore left knee and had just 12 points at halftime.

Despite his slow start, the Rockets had a comfortable lead in the third and were still up by 13 after a basket by San Antonio's Dejounte Murray with about eight minutes left in the quarter. It was then that Harden took over, scoring the next eight points to start a 16-4 run that extended the lead to 82-57 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the third and had coach Gregg Popovich calling for a timeout.

Harden had a 3-pointer and made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt to propel that spurt. He didn't return in the fourth quarter with the game in hand.

"We've played I don't know how many games in about eight days or 10 days, but it's a lot of games it seems like," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "And to have the legs to be able to do what they're doing and put the game away is pretty good."

The Spurs, who were without leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge, got 14 points each from Bryn Forbes and Derrick White. They lost for the fifth time in six games as they fight for a playoff spot.

"Everybody tries to be the best they can be by playoff time and that will be our goal, too," Popovich said. "(We want) to be in the playoffs and to be as good as we can possibly be no matter what the circumstances are."

San Antonio scored four quick points in the fourth quarter to get within 15. But Houston responded with the next eight points, with the last five from Chris Paul, to make it 99-76 and end Paul's night with about 8 minutes remaining.

Paul, who finished with 18 points and nine assists, wowed the crowd in that stretch, crossing over Forbes before sinking a basket and then knocking down a 3-pointer on Houston's next trip down the court.

The Rockets were up by 10 early in the third quarter before using a 7-3 run, capped by a 3 from Trevor Ariza, to make it 61-47 with about 9 1/2 minutes left in the quarter before the big Harden-fueled run put the game out of reach.

TIP-INS

Spurs: Popovich said before the game that he didn't have any update on when Kawhi Leonard could return amid recent reports that he could return later this week. Leonard has played just nine games this season because of a quadriceps injury. ... Aldridge missed the game because of a sore right knee. ... Manu Ginobili got a day off to rest. ... Rudy Gay added 13 points. ... Tony Parker had 12.

Rockets: Ryan Anderson missed his eighth straight game with a sore left hip. D'Antoni said he is doing better but he doesn't know when he'll return. ... Clint Capela had 13 points and nine rebounds.

SUCCESS AGAINST SPURS

Houston improved to 3-0 against the Spurs this season with one game left in the series. It's just the second time since the 1997-98 season that the Rockets have won the season series against San Antonio after going 4-0 against the Spurs in the 2013-14 season.

THEY SAID IT

D'Antoni, on the energy P.J. Tucker brings to the team: "When you have P.J. Tucker out there, it's hard not to have energy on the floor. He's got energy for about four or five guys."

THUNDER 106, KINGS 101

OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook got the help he needed from co-stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

George and Anthony each scored 21 points and Westbrook notched his 20th triple-double of the season to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Sacramento Kings 106-101 on Monday night.

George and Anthony broke out of shooting slumps. George was 4 of 9 on 3-pointers and Anthony hit 5 of 7 to make the Kings pay for packing the paint.

"I've been through it, through tough shooting nights," George said. "Melo has been through tough shooting nights. That's the least of my concerns and the least of his concerns, I'm sure of it. That's all going to come. My job is just to continue to keep going. Continue to stay in attack mode. I'll get in a rhythm here eventually where I'll feel good on a nightly basis but I will continue to be aggressive out there."

Westbrook had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the 99th triple-double of his career for the Thunder, who moved into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. Oklahoma City is now a season-high 11 games above .500.

Thunder center Steven Adams left the game in the third quarter with a left hip contusion and did not return. Just two days earlier against San Antonio, he hurt his left ankle in the third quarter and did not return.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 points and Garrett Temple and Justin Jackson each added 15 for the Kings.

The Thunder held the Kings to 40.9 percent shooting overall, and 38.9 percent shooting in the fourth quarter.

"Our defense has been huge," George said. "Again, it's all a credit to our effort."

Oklahoma City led 46-40 at halftime. George had 14 points and Anthony 13. Temple's tip-in in the closing seconds of the third quarter gave Sacramento a 79-78 lead.

The Thunder led 88-85 in the fourth quarter when Westbrook checked back in after a brief rest. He got his 10th assist on a pass to Jerami Grant for a layup and his 10th rebound with just over 3 minutes to play. Westbrook's lob to Grant for a dunk put the Thunder up 102-92 with just under 3 minutes to play.

Sacramento cut its deficit to 104-101 on a pair of free throws by Bogdanovic with 23 seconds left, but Oklahoma City's Corey Brewer made two free throws with 17 seconds left to put it out of reach.

Westbrook made a game-winning 3-pointer against the Kings on Feb. 22. Temple said he thought the Kings did well to hang tough this time after losing at Denver the night before.

"Coming off a back-to-back, playing against a pretty physical team, against a team who is obviously battling for a playoff spot and against a team who beat us at home in an emotional game — it was real big for us to come in and battle the way we did defensively and offensively," Temple said.

TIP-INS

Kings: Former Oklahoma star Buddy Hield came off the bench and scored three points in 15 minutes. ... The start of the second half was delayed because a wire was hanging down behind one of the backboards and needed to be taped.

Thunder: G Terrance Ferguson returned after missing Saturday's game against San Antonio while in concussion protocol. He played 11 minutes and scored three points. ... Anthony made three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the game. ... Oklahoma City improved to 7-3 since the All-Star break. ... Brewer scored 16 points.

STAT LINES

It was a rough shooting night for the season scoring leaders on both teams. Westbrook made just 7 of 19 shots. Zach Randolph scored 10 points on 5-for-18 shooting for the Kings.

QUOTABLE

Hield, with advice for Oklahoma star Trae Young ahead of the Sooners' NCAA Tournament opener Thursday against Rhode Island: "Trae's got to be the player that we need to play well. Make plays for teammates, make shots and score the ball efficiently."

BUCKS 121, GRIZZLIES 103

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Khris Middleton scored 24 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 20 and Milwaukee sent Memphis to its 18th consecutive loss.

Brandon Jennings, signed to a 10-day contract by Milwaukee on Sunday, finished two rebounds short of a triple-double with 16 points and 12 assists. Eric Bledsoe added 14 points, including a trio of baskets to stem a fourth-quarter Memphis rally.

Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 17 points, while Jarell Martin, Dillon Brooks and Ben McLemore scored 16 apiece.