James Harden notoriously played all but two minutes of the fourth quarter in the Houston Rockets' 126-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, determined to make his impact upon coming back into the game.
Harden posted 50 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to thwart the Lakers, who were 6-1 in their previous games.
James Harden has a trademark "nosebleed" celebration whenever he makes a dunk, but the Houston Rockets guard chose to do something different on Thursday night.
Harden scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, when the Rockets - who led 90-88 through three periods - finally pulled away in a game that featured 13 lead changes and was tied 12 times.
TJ Warren had 30 points as the Suns, languishing at the bottom of the league, improved their record to 5-24 for the season.
One of the Rockets' problems this season has been fizzling down the stretch of close games. At the charity stripe, Harden hit 18 free throws and missed just one.
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James and Lonzo Ball put hands on their backs while guarding Harden on several situations, ironically showing the officials that they can't foul him now. The Houston Rockets are averaging 109 points on 45 percent shooting and allowing 109.6 points on 47.6 percent shooting.
The brief rest ended up a wise move because the Lakers were unable to stop him during crunch time. "It's tough", said head coach Luke Walton.
Tobias Harris led the Clippers with 17 points, 15 of which came in the first half.
MEXICO CITY - Nikola Vucevic scored 26 points, including a tiebreaking jumper with 28 seconds remaining, and the Orlando Magic snapped a three-game losing streak with a 97-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night in their first of two games in Mexico.
The Charlotte Hornets look for a spark of consistency after splitting their last 10 games.
Dirk Nowitzki set an National Basketball Association record by playing in Thursday's game against the Suns. Jamal Crawford added 17 off the bench and fellow reserve Josh Jackson contributed 14.
The Dallas loss came in the season debut of Dirk Nowitzki.