LOS ANGELES (AFP) – James Harden scored 28 points and dished out 11 assists Thursday as the Houston Rockets handed the San Antonio Spurs a rare home defeat, 102-91.
Harden showed no sign of a let-down after his historic 60-point triple-double on Tuesday, producing seven points in the final two minutes as the Rockets thwarted a Spurs rally to notch their second win this season over San Antonio.
Down by double-digits much of the contest, the Spurs pulled within 92-85 with 2:49 remaining with the aid of a hook shot from LaMarcus Aldridge and a three-pointer from Bryn Forbes.
The Rockets responded with a three-pointer from Harden, followed by his four-point play with 1:36 left.
“They’re good in this building – they’re great in this building,” Harden said of a Spurs team that endured just their fifth home defeat of the season.
“We knew they were going to make a run. We held our composure, made some big shots, got some defensive stops when we needed to and that was the game right there,” Harden said.
Gerald Green added 15 points for Houston. Clint Capela chipped in 14, Ryan Anderson scored 13 and Chris Paul and P.J.
Tucker scored 10 apiece for Houston, who led 54-38 at halftime.
GRIFFINS SHINES FOR PISTONS
In Detroit, Blake Griffin produced a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds in his debut for the Pistons, who held off the Memphis Grizzlies 104-102.
Griffin, who admitted he was shocked to be traded by the Los Angeles Clippers this week, got a warm welcome from the Detroit crowd in pre-game introductions.
He delivered the pass to Anthony Tolliver for a three-pointer that gave Detroit a 101-100 lead with 1:49 to play.
Two free-throws from Tolliver stretched the Pistons lead to 103-100 with six seconds left and Reggie Bullock sealed with a final free-throw.
Andre Drummond, who promises to form a formidable front-court duo with Griffin, finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons, who are ninth in the East and hoping the arrival of five-time All-Star Griffin can help propel them into playoff position.
The Minnesota Timberwolves won their 11th straight home game in Minneapolis — where those in attendance included New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick — taking a brief break before his team goes for a Super Bowl title against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.