Houston, TX – Trading James Harden in the offseason came back to haunt the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
Harden poured in a career-high 46 points against his former team, including 16 in the final frame, to lift the Houston Rockets to a 122-119 come-from-behind victory over the Thunder at Toyota Center.
The third overall pick in the 2009 draft knocked down a career-high seven 3- pointers and added eight rebounds and six assists to help Houston earn its fifth straight home victory.
"He's a phenomenal offensive force," Houston coach Kevin McHale said of Harden. "He can drive it. He's got the ability to shoot it and to beat you off the bounce. I think he's almost unguardable off the catch."
Jeremy Lin followed with 29 points and eight assists, while Chandler Parsons chipped in 17 points in the victory.
Kevin Durant recorded his second career triple-double with 16 points, 12 boards and 11 assists, but it wasn't enough, as Oklahoma City dropped its third straight contest.
Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha each posted 28 points in defeat.
Harden's halfcourt heave beat the third-quarter buzzer and sent the Rockets into the final frame trailing, 92-87, before the Thunder opened the fourth on a 15-6 surge to take a 107-93 lead with 7:13 remaining.
The Rockets made their run from there, as they held the visitors without a field goal over the next six-plus minutes to take control.
Harden fueled Houston's 26-6 outburst with 12 points, including a game-tying, stepback triple from the left wing to make it 111-111 with 2:21 to play.
After a Westbrook miss, Lin followed with a trey of his own before Harden buried a jumper to provide the Rockets with a five-point lead with 1:20 left.
Another Lin triple made it 119-113 with 49.3 seconds left before Westbrook quelled the Thunder's field goal drought with a 3-pointer to bring Oklahoma City within three with 26.4 ticks remaining.
After both teams went 1-of-2 from the line, Durant had a chance to tie the game, but his 3-point try was off the mark and Parsons corralled the rebound.
Harden then put the finishing touches on the comeback, as he knocked down two free throws with 6.7 seconds left to seal the outcome.
"They got hot, we got cold," Durant admitted of his team down the stretch. "They played defense, we didn't."
Early on, the Rockets came out on fire from long range, connecting on 8-of-13 from beyond the arc to build a 36-29 edge after 12 minutes.
Oklahoma City shot 52.4 percent in the second and outscored Houston, 33-21, in the stanza to take a 62-57 lead into the break.
The Thunder led by as many as 10 late in the third, but the Rockets scored the final five points of the frame to cut the deficit in half heading into the fourth.
It was the third career 40-point game for Harden ... Houston's Marcus Morris, Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas were not with the team because of reported trades involving Phoenix and Sacramento ... The Thunder had taken the previous two meetings this season ... Oklahoma City shot 48.3 percent from the field overall, while Houston went 47.8 percent from the floor.