James Harden turned in his best performance of the season, scoring 47 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a 102-93 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Harden scored 17 points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, including 13-straight, knocking down deep three after deep three to lift the Rockets to their fifth-straight win.
He shot 7-of-13 from beyond the arc, 12-of-26 from the field and 16-of-17 from the free-throw line, adding seven assists, six rebounds and three steals in a well-rounded performance.
Harden has now scored 40 or more points in five of his 11 games this season.
Harden's scoring run to start the season has moved him past Michael Jordan and Rick Barry and into the rarefied '62-63 Wilt territory. His 420 points (in 401 minutes) is the most through the first 11 games of a season since Chamberlain had 592 in 1962-63. https://t.co/UbydRuuAcE- Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) November 14, 2019
After the Rockets raced out to a 31-15 first-quarter lead, the Clippers slowly worked their way back into the game, eventually taking the lead in the fourth quarter thanks to a four-point play from Kawhi Leonard.
.@kawhileonard for t̶h̶r̶e̶e̶ four! pic.twitter.com/MdMBMe5FfX- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 14, 2019
Between Leonard and Patrick Beverley, the Clippers forced the ball out of Harden's hands, trapped him at every opportunity, holding him to 2-of-7 shooting in the second half....until he decided it was time to take over.
BIG TIME B3ARD 😤 pic.twitter.com/6YImlKnqA9- Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 14, 2019
With under a minute remaining, Harden sealed the win, stripping Kawhi Leonard at one end, before serving up an alley-oop to Tyson Chandler that had the home crowd hyped.
With Russell Westbrook picking up four fouls in the first quarter and shooting 6-of-20 for the game, the Rockets needed a performance like this from Harden if they were going to stand a chance...and he didn't miss a beat.
His teammates combined to shoot just 35 percent from the field and 24 percent from the three-point line, but with Harden catching fire like he did, the Rockets can get away with nights like this.
"It's just one of those nights where I couldn't make a shot....nobody could hit a shot, and [Harden] just took it over himself," Austin Rivers said post-game. "Superman sometimes has to put on his cape or whatever, that's kind of what he did tonight."
Rivers found himself in the thick of the action late in the game, encouraging the officials to give his dad, Clippers coach Doc Rivers a technical foul after he got into a heated conversation with the officials on the sideline.
Coach Rivers was ejected shortly after, much to the delight of Austin.
Austin Rivers was really laughing and calling for his dad to get a tech 😆 pic.twitter.com/WPtypgVN4p- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 14, 2019
"It was a really good moment. I enjoyed it a lot. I'm not gonna lie to you. I really did enjoy that."
Rivers finished with seven points off the bench, while Westbrook added 17. Clint Capela hauled in 20 rebounds to go with his 12 points, before leaving the game with a head injury.
Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 26 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, while Lou Williams added 20 points off the bench.
With the win, the Rockets now sit at 8-3 on the season.