James Harden led the Rockets to a 121-118 victory over the Miami Heat with a monster 58 point performance, adding another miraculous game to his resume.
Usually, the Rockets are the team that gives up a big lead, but on Thursday night, they made the big comeback.
The Rockets looked like a team on the second night of a back to back in the first half against the Miami Heat. They gave up open looks from beyond the arc and Miami’s guards were able to get into the paint at will.
Houston trailed 69-55 at halftime and Miami increased the lead to 21 points early in the third quarter. Fortunately, the Rockets made a run before the game slipped away.
Gary Clark, who started in place of Eric Gordon, nailed a 3-pointer off of a James Harden assist with 8:24 left in the third. Then, Harden converted on two free throws before drilling a 3-pointer. Miami scored on the next possession, but Gerald Green answered with a 3-pointer. The Rockets cut the lead to 12 heading into the fourth as Harden led Houston with 17 points in the period.
The Rockets continued to chip away at the lead in the final quarter and a layup plus a free throw from James Harden brought Houston to within seven points with 6:09 left in regulation. Justice Winslow of Miami fouled Harden on a 3-point attempt on Houston’s next possession, giving the Rockets an automatic three points.
After a Miami miss on the other end, Harden pushed an outlet pass down the floor to Clint Capela for an easy layup, cutting Miami’s lead to just two points. The Rockets forced another Heat miss and this time Harden scored himself to even the score at 113.
Chris Paul nailed two free throws on the next possession with 3:27 left and Houston never trailed again after that. CP3 put the dagger in Miami’s heart when he nailed a mid-range jumper over the outstretched arms of Bam Adebayo, putting the Rockets up 121-118 with 46 seconds left in regulation. The Heat never scored again.
James Harden added to his MVP worthy campaign, finishing with 58 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals. Before Thursday night, Harden was just 3-for-31 from beyond the arc over his previous three games. However, Harden ended his shooting slump against Miami as he made eight triples.
The Rockets have now won four consecutive games and after Oklahoma City’s loss to Philadephia, Houston is just a game and a half out of the third seed. It’s an exciting time to be a Rockets fan.