Rockets’ Harden ill, misses 1st game of season in Phoenix

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 20:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets reacts after a three-point shot against the Denver Nuggets at Toyota Center on March 20, 2017 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) Houston Rockets star James Harden is sitting out against Phoenix because of illness, his first missed game of the season.

The Rockets said Sunday their MVP candidate had acute viral syndrome.

Harden is averaging 29.2 points, tied for second-most in the NBA going into Sunday’s games.

The Rockets are likely locked into the third seed in the Western Conference at 51-25, though Utah still has a slim chance of catching them.