Harden finished with 43 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists despite sitting out the fourth quarter. His 13th 40-point game this season set a franchise record and Harden nabbed his 10th rebound with 1:22 left in the third, corralling a 3-point miss by Cleveland forward Jalen Jones.
Harden converted all 11 of his free throws. All 10 of his rebounds came on the defensive end.
The Rockets overwhelmed the hapless Cavaliers from behind the arc, drilling 16 of 37 3s while carrying a 113-81 lead into the final period. Harden was eight of 16 from deep while Austin Rivers, Gerald Green, PJ Tucker, and Gary Clark nailed two treys apiece.
In another match, rookie sensation Luka Doncic drained the game-winning 3-pointer, scored a team-high 29 points and finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a rare road win, 119-115, to snap the Minnesota Timberwolves’ three-game win streak.
Doncic, the second-leading vote-getter in the Western Conference so far, went toe to toe with the Wolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished with a game-high 30 points, plus 11 rebounds and four blocks.
Doncic’s game-winner, shot over Towns’ outstretched arm, swished through with 22.9 seconds left for a 117-115 lead. It came just seconds after he threw away an inbounds pass with Minnesota leading 115-114. But the Wolves gave it right back to set up the 19-year-old’s heroics.
In Philadelphia, John Collins hit the go-ahead jumper with 9.5 seconds remaining to lift the visiting Atlanta Hawks past the 76ers 123-121.
Kevin Huerter led the Hawks with a career-high 29 points, Collins added 25, and Dewayne Dedmon had 19. Rookie Trae Young scored 18 points.
The Hawks played short-handed with key players such as Kent Bazemore, Miles Plumlee and Taurean Prince out.
Jimmy Butler paced the Sixers with 30 points, but he missed a pair of free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining after making his first 12. Wilson Chandler also missed a potential tying basket on a tip-in at the buzzer.
Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons recorded his seventh triple-double of the season with 23 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. JJ Redick scored 20 points.
The Sixers played without All-Star centre Joel Embiid, who tried to warm up with a sore left ankle but couldn’t compete. Philadelphia fell to 18-4 at home.