James Harden scored 55 points — 20 in the fourth quarter — and Russell Westbrook added 23 points as the Houston Rockets withstood an unexpected scare from Cleveland and held on for a 116-110 win Wednesday night over the free-falling Cavs, who have lost eight straight and 14 of 15.
Harden made four 3-pointers and shot 7 of 8 in the fourth while matching Kyrie Irving‘s arena record for points in a game. His fourth 50-point performance this season bailed out the Rockets, who allowed the Cavs to score 24 straight points in the second half.
Cleveland was still leading 108-107 when Harden, who came in as the league’s top scorer at 38 points per game, dropped a floater in the lane with 1:03 left. After a turnover by Cavs guard Jordan Clarkson, P.J. Tucker hit a 3 from the corner and Clint Capela had a dunk following another Cleveland miscue.
The inexperienced Cavs crumbled in the final minute, committing three turnovers.
Cleveland, though, came to play and was led by Kevin Porter Junior’s season-high 24 points. Collin Sexton added 18 and Kevin Love had 17 points and 11 boards.