James Harden led the Houston Rockets’ offensive arsenal as they escaped with a close-call 153-149 overtime victory against the Dallas Mavericks.
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Harden, who set the tone early with a 23-point performance in the first quarter, finished with a game-high 49 markers, along with 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Russell Westbrook was instrumental on the defensive end, and had an all-around night of 31 points, 11 boards and 8 dimes.
Trailing by three points with only seconds left in regulation, Harden was fouled on the catch and made his first free throw. He then missed his second one, but Robert Covington came out of nowhere for a clutch putback. Mavericks sophomore star Luka Doncic would miss a heavily-contested triple as the Rockets forced an extension period.
It would be a see-saw affair in overtime, but Harden’s two straight buckets off the penetration became the turning point. Danuel House Jr chipped in 20 markers for Houston, and Covington had a double-double performance of 13 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Stretch big man Kristaps Porzingis led the charge for Dallas with his 39 points and 16 boards, and Doncic amassed another triple-double of 28 markers, 13 rebounds and 10 dimes. Trey Burke, who the Mavs just signed for the season restart, put up 31 points off the bench and missed only two of his 10 attempts from the three-point line.
The Rockets played without the injured Eric Gordon as the veteran shooting guard suffered an ankle injury that will force him to sit out several games in the bubble.
Rockets (153) – Harden 49, Westbrook 31, House Jr. 20, Covington 13, McLemore 13, Rivers 10, Green 10, Tucker 7
Mavericks (149) – Porzingis 39, Burke 31, Doncic 28, Hardaway Jr. 24, Kleber 7, Finney-Smith 6, Marjanovic 6, Wright 5, Curry 3, Jackson 0, Cleveland 0