Harden posted 55 points on 20-34 shooting in a stellar offensive performance.
The Rockets and Cavs kept pace in the first half with the lead never advancing past single digits for the Rockets.
The team took a 64-57 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Rockets were able to stretch their lead and take it to the next gear. During the first six minutes of the third, the Rockets were able to double their lead from seven to 14 and built a 13-point lead with less than two minutes in the fourth.
A Russell Westbrook dunk from a James Harden pass put the Rockets ahead 88-75 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.
Their next bucket came at the 8-minute mark in the fourth quarter courtesy of a Harden floater. During that time frame, the Cavaliers scored 24 unanswered points on 10-11 shooting. Rookie Kevin Porter Jr. scored 10 of his career-high 24 during the run to push the Cavs out to an 11-point lead, their largest of the game.
Then, it was time for The Beard to take over.
Harden scored the next 15 points for the Rockets, but the team still trailed by a point.
Down the stretch, Harden and Ben McLemore hit crucial threes and P.J. Tucker hit a dagger from the corner to ice the game for the Rockets.
During the fourth quarter, this looked like a typical Rockets collapse. Unassuming players having incredible games and the team losing to a team it should not lose to.
However, Harden’s refusal to lose and scoring prowess was enough to bail this team out yet again.
The Rockets cannot rely on this longterm, but it was certainly nice to have tonight. The team won’t get as lucky every night, but a win is a win and you have to take it.
The Rockets head to Orlando Friday night to face the Magic. Tipoff is at 6 PM CT.