Charlotte, NC – James Harden racked up 29 points and seven assists and the Houston Rockets ended a seven-game losing streak by rallying for a 100-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Harden netted 12 of his points during a fourth quarter in which Houston outscored the Bobcats by a 26-13 margin to erase a seven-point deficit and earn its first win since Jan. 8. The Rockets also benefited from a large advantage from the free throw line, burying 32-of-41 foul shots compared to a 20-of-24 success rate for Charlotte.
Harden finished 19-of-21 from the charity stripe.
"I thought we just won the championship to be honest with you," Harden said about snapping the losing streak. "Just to get this one of our back and go home with a little bit of confidence and try to get a little bit of swagger back feels good."
The Rockets also received big contributions from the bench, with Marcus Morris recording 21 points and eight rebounds and fellow reserve Carlos Delfino dropping in 16 points to help Houston deal the Bobcats a franchise-worst 15th consecutive defeat on their home floor.
Charlotte suffered its seventh setback in eight games overall despite a career-high 35-point effort from Kemba Walker. Ramon Sessions contributed 19 points and eight rebounds for the Bobcats in a losing cause.
"It's tough. We're trying our hardest to win these games, but it's just not working out for us right now," said Walker.
Down 81-72 with less than a minute to go in the third quarter, Houston came roaring back with a 12-2 spurt fueled by six Delfino points to take an 84-83 edge with under eight minutes left to play. The game would remain tight down the stretch, with neither team up by more than three points, and Charlotte owned a slim 94-93 lead after Walker knocked down a jumper with 2:11 remaining.
Delfino then buried a clutch 3-pointer on the following possession to put the Rockets back in front, and Charlotte missed its final five shots as Harden sealed the outcome by sinking four free throws in the last minute.
The Bobcats shot a woeful 21.1 percent (4-for-19) and made good on just 1-of-6 tries from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter.
Charlotte fared much better offensively during the first half, hitting on 51.2 percent of its field goal attempts in building a 56-45 advantage at the break.
A 13-4 run capped by Jeff Taylor's reverse dunk staked the Bobcats to a 24-12 lead late in the first quarter, though Houston would cut the differential down to three later on when five consecutive points from Delfino made it a 37-34 game with 7 1/2 minutes left in the second period.
Charlotte answered with an 8-1 flurry, however, to bring the margin back to double digits.
The Bobcats were up 63-54 four minutes into the third quarter before Houston closed the gap with a 10-2 stretch that trimmed the spread to one just past the midway stage of the frame.
Charlotte would regroup before the quarter ended, however, and back-to-back 3- pointers from Walker sparked an 8-0 surge that enabled the Bobcats to take an 81-72 lead.
Rockets backup center Greg Smith missed the game due to the birth of his child ... The Bobcats, who dropped 14 in a row at home to close out their dismal 2011-12 season, haven't won at Time Warner Cable Arena since a 98-97 decision over Toronto on Nov. 21 ... Houston finished 10-of-29 from 3-point range for the contest, dropping Charlotte to 1-18 on the season when its opponents makes 10 or more triples in a game ... The Rockets have now won four straight and 12 of the last 14 matchups between the teams.