James Harden

James Harden sizzles in overtime as Rockets topple Pistons
(Associated Press) - March 24, 2018 - 12:00am

HOUSTON – James Harden scored 21 points, including 10 of Houston’s 12 points in overtime, to shake off a tough four quarters and lift the Rockets to a 100-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.

After going 2-of-16 in regulation, including missing a shot that would have won it, Harden warmed up in overtime. He put Houston up with a basket early in the period before making it 93-90 on a three-point play after a basket by Andre Drummond. He added three free throws with about a minute left before P.J. Tucker’s tip-in made it 98-90 with 21 seconds to play.

Blake Griffin, who finished with a triple-double, had a three-pointer after that, but Harden made two more free throws to push the lead to seven. Harden missed both free throws after a three-pointer by Ish Smith with 4.2 seconds left, but the Rockets held on to extend their winning streak to seven games.

It was an ugly game which featured 71 missed three-pointers combined. Houston was 12-of-51 and Detroit made just 6-of-38.

In other results, Charlotte blasted Memphis, 140-79; Philadelphia ripped Orlando, 118-98; Utah trounced Dallas, 119-112; Sacramento routed Atlanta, 105-90; and the New Orleans Pelicans held off the Los Angeles Lakers, 128-125.

Back in Houston, Eric Gordon added 22 points for Houston on a night Chris Paul sat out with a sore left hamstring.

Griffin had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Drummond had 17 points and 20 rebounds.

The Pistons trailed by nine with about 4.5 minutes left in regulation when Griffin made a layup to start an 11-0 run. Reggie Bullock made a three-pointer and Luke Kennard had four points in that stretch, including two free throws that put Detroit up 88-86 with about 90 seconds remaining.

Houston tied the game when Drummond was called for goaltending on a shot by Tucker with 30.5 seconds left.

Griffin missed a shot with nine seconds left and Harden’s shot jump shot at the buzzer was off to send the game into overtime.

After scoring 42 in Houston’s win over Portland on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), Harden had trouble getting anything going against Detroit. He made 13-of-18 free throws, but was 0-for-8 on three-pointers.           

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