Harden netted an off-balanced jumper with 4.5 seconds to play for a 96-95 victory.
He looked like an ordinary player in the first half when he shot 2-of-9, but then Harden found the touch in the second half, although it wasn’t from the floor where he was deadliest when it came to scoring 29 points. Harden is among the best free-throw shooters in the NBA as he proved with a 15-of-17 performance.
From the floor, thanks to his poor start, Harden was only 6-of-16 and was 2-of-5 from the three-points line. But he also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists, while getting two steals and only had one turnover.
Harden continues to ignite a Rockets team that, at 39-31, seems to be peaking.
It’s going to be tough to get to 50 wins with just 12 games to play, but it looks like Harden will get the Rockets to the high 40s and as favorable of a playoff seeding as possible. The Rockets are a solid No. 7 seed right now in the NBA West and want to take aim at Golden State and the No. 6 spot. They probably can’t go higher than sixth, but avoiding a major collapse in the final weeks of the regular season, they should be able to stay in seventh.
Harden makes the Rockets a dangerous playoff team by himself. It’s going to be tough for anybody to beat Harden and his team four times.