Harden finds shot, scores 37 as Rockets hold off Thunder
HOUSTON – James Harden knew his shot would start falling eventually.
It returned on Monday night.
"I hit the first two shots and I was like, 'OK, I've got something today,' " he said.
Harden scored 37 points, and the Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-105 for their first win of the season.
It was the first loss for the Thunder, which won its first three games while the Rockets dropped their first three.
Harden was 12-for-26 from the field after a tough start to the season. He shot below 30 percent in each of the first three games.
"I'm sure all great shooters go through droughts," he said. "Mine was pretty terrible, I admit. But it will change. It will all come around. It's a long season and I'll go on five-, six-, 10-game streaks where I'm just on fire and it will even itself out."
An 8-1 run by the Rockets made it 107-100 with about two minutes left. Harden capped that key stretch with a three, knocking it down with Russell Westbrook right in his face.
Dwight Howard, playing only for the second time this season, hit two free throws with 5.7 seconds left to secure the victory.
• MILESTONE FOR DUNCAN: LaMarcus Aldridge scored 19 points, Kawhi Leonard had 18 points and 14 rebounds and San Antonio beat host New York 94-84 to give Tim Duncan a milestone victory. Duncan had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in his NBA-record 954th victory with one team. He passed Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton, who went 953-551 with Utah. Duncan, in his 19th season, is 954-381.
• MILESTONE FOR LEBRON, TOO: LeBron James became the youngest player to reach 25,000 career points, leading Cleveland past the winless 76ers 107-100 in Philadelphia. James had 22 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds and rallied the Cavaliers in the second half against the 76ers, who had built a 15-point lead. James, 30, is the fifth active player with 25,000 points and the 20th overall.
• A 50-POINT VICTORY: Stephen Curry scored 21 of his 30 points in an emphatic third-quarter stretch and the reigning NBA MVP followed up his 53-point performance from Friday with another gem to lead host Golden State (4-0) past Memphis 119-69.
• ALSO UNBEATEN: Blake Griffin had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the host Los Angeles Clippers held on for a 102-96 victory over Phoenix to improve to 4-0. It's the Clippers first 4-0 start since 1985.
• ON THEIR WAY: Milwaukee forward Jabari Parker and guard Tyler Ennis were medically cleared to play Wednesday. Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in 2014, has been recovering from January surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee. Meanwhile, the Bucks won at Brooklyn 103-96, their first victory of the season.