The Houston Rockets were staring at a 0-4 hole to start the season after falling to a huge deficit against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder Monday. James Harden wouldn’t allow the winless start to continue however, taking over in the third quarter to lead his team to the comeback and the 110-105 victory over their bitter rivals.
Harden finished with 37 points, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots to lead the Rockets their first victory of the season after losing their first three games, to the Denver Nuggets (105-85), Golden State Warriors (112-92) and Miami Heat (109-89), via blowout losses.
The Thunder led 71-57 with about 10 minutes to go in the third quarter before the Rockets made a 25-8 run to grab the lead at 82-79 entering the final quarter. The teams traded leads until crunchtime, where Trevor Ariza, Ty Lawson and Harden made clutch baskets to finally put some distance from the road team.
Ariza finished with just 9 points but had a key three-pointer late in the game while Lawson ended up with 14 points and 11 assists.
The Thunder suffered their first defeat of the year after wins over the San Antonio Spurs (112-106), Orlando Magic (139-136 2OT) and Nuggets (117-93).
For the fourth straight game, it was the Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook show again for OKC but this time they came up short. Durant had 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting while Westbrook had 25 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists.
The Rockets will aim for their first winning streak of the season facing the Magic and Sacramento Kings in their next two games while the Thunder will try to return to the win column taking on the Toronto Raptors Wednesday.