HOUSTON — James Harden had 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double in the Houston Rockets’ 109-95 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.
Bobcats rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken off the court on a stretcher in the fourth quarter after teammate Jeff Taylor collided with him going for a rebound. Kidd-Gilchrist was fitted with a neck brace and taken to the hospital.
Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said after the game that Kidd-Gilchrist was moving his extremities and talking as he was wheeled off the floor. Dunlap did not know if Kidd-Gilchrist would be kept in Houston overnight.
Chandler Parsons and Patrick Patterson scored 24 points apiece for the Rockets.
Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Ramon Sessions had 20 points for Charlotte.
The Rockets scored 28 fast-break points and shot 51 percent (42 of 82) from the field.
Parsons sank two 3-pointers, and then finished another breakaway with a layup as the Rockets repeatedly beat the Bobcats down the floor for easy baskets early.
Charlotte held Harden to four points in the opening quarter and cut the deficit to 32-27 heading to the second.
Parsons swooped in for a putback dunk after Omer Asik missed a free throw early in the second quarter as the Rockets started stretching the lead again. Parsons already had 17 points with eight minutes left in the half, then zipped a cross-court pass to Harden for a layup and a 44-32 Rockets lead.
Houston had 16 assists on 24 first-half field goals and led 62-51 at the break.
Harden scored seven points, including a 3-pointer, in the first five minutes of the third quarter. He also earned a technical foul for mouthing off at a referee over a call.
The Bobcats rallied late in the third quarter, cutting a 15-point deficit to two by the end of the third quarter. Walker sank a 3-pointer and Taylor finished the quarter with a dunk to make it 79-77 heading to the fourth.
The Rockets led 81-80 early in the fourth when Kidd-Gilchrist was injured. He was trying to block Toney Douglas’ driving layup and Taylor came in behind him going for the rebound.
Taylor’s right hip connected with the back of Kidd-Gilchrist’s head and Taylor came down on top of his teammate. Kidd-Gilchrist lay motionless for several minutes and medical staffs from both teams came out to check on him.
With the entire Charlotte bench huddling around him, medical personnel lifted Kidd-Gilchrist onto a stretcher. He was wheeled off the floor to applause from the crowd and taken to a local hospital for tests.
The Rockets took control again over the final nine minutes. Patterson sank a pair of 3-pointers and Harden finishing them off with a layup and a long jumper.