DENVER — Guard James Harden scored eight of his game-high 41 points in overtime, and the Houston Rockets beat the Denver Nuggets 115-111 Wednesday night.
Harden added a season-high 10 assists, and center Dwight Howard had 24 points and 16 rebounds to lead Houston to its seventh win in eight games.
The last two victories came against Denver, but unlike Saturday, this one was close down the stretch until Houston took control.
Harden’s step-back jumper gave the Rockets a 109-105 lead with 1:16 remaining in overtime. The Nuggets had a chance to tie, it but guard Arron Afflalo, whose 3-pointer sent the game into overtime, missed a free throw with 24.8 seconds left.
Harden was fouled and hit two free throws. Denver forward Danilo Gallinari missed a 3-pointer from the corner, and Houston guard Patrick Beverley hit four free throws in the final 23 seconds to seal it.
Forward Wilson Chandler led Denver (10-15) with 23 points, and Afflalo had 22. Guard Ty Lawson had 12 points and 16 assists for the slumping Nuggets, who lost for the seventh time in eight games.
The Rockets (19-5) took a five-point lead late in the fourth on a 3-pointer by forward Trevor Ariza and a layup by Howard.
The Nuggets tied it at 92 on forward Darrell Arthur’s 3-pointer with 3:32 left.
Howard hit just one of four free throws, and Afflalo’s layup and forward Kenneth Faried’s follow slam gave Denver a 96-93 lead with 1:24 remaining.
The Rockets rallied, and Harden’s 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds left gave Houston a 98-96 lead. Harden missed a chance to ice it when he split a pair of free throws with 6.5 seconds left.
Afflalo took advantage of the opening and hit a 27-footer at buzzer to send it into overtime tied at 99.
Harden kept the Rockets in it with 23 points in the first half, 13 of which came from the foul line.
Denver led by 16 after Faried, back after missing a game with a right ankle strain, hit a running jumper with 3:48 left in the second quarter.
Harden had six points in the third quarter to get the Rockets to within 78-75 heading into the fourth.
NOTES: Rockets G Jason Terry left the team for Dallas to be with his wife, who is expecting the couple’s fifth child. … Nuggets F Danilo Gallinari returned to action after missing the previous three games with a bruised right knee. … Houston G Isaiah Canaan returned to the lineup. The second-year player from Murray State missed seven games with a sprained right ankle. … Nuggets coach Brian Shaw and Houston coach Kevin McHale were teammates with Boston in the late 1980s and early 1990s. … Rockets G Francisco Garcia missed his fourth consecutive game due to a right calf strain.
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