James Harden recorded a triple-double in just three quarters of play to lead the Houston Rockets to a 120-98 rout of the historically futile Philadelphia 76ers, who lost their 26th consecutive game.

With their latest defeat, the Sixers tied the 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers, who became a basement dweller the season after superstar LeBron James signed as a free agent with the Miami Heat, for the longest losing streak in NBA history.

The Rockets outclassed the 76ers Thursday night at the Toyota Center in Houston, building a 63-49 halftime lead and gradually increasing that advantage over the final two quarters in a game that lacked drama from start to finish.

Harden scored 26 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists for Houston in 31 minutes of play, while main sidekick Dwight Howard dominated in the paint with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Power forward Terrence Jones also had a big night for the Rockets, scoring 20 points and hauling down seven rebounds.

The Sixers, who were led by guard James Anderson's 30 points, 18 of them coming on 3-pointers, shot just 39 percent from the field and were outrebounded by a margin of 57-39.

They fell to 15-57 for the season and must defeat the Detroit Pistons Saturday night to avoid holding the losing-streak record by their lonesome.

Despite their woes, the 76ers still do not have the worst record in the NBA this season. That dubious honor goes to the Milwaukee Bucks (14-58), who, like Philadelphia, are looking ahead to this year's talent-rich NBA draft as a means of bolstering their roster.

EFE