Harden netted a game-high 44 points and had 15 assists and 10 rebounds in the 135-134 thriller on Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. The Rockets overcame a 17-point first-half deficit to secure the road victory.
“I don’t know where [the shot] ranks, but I’m just happy to come away with the win,” Harden told reporters. “We’ve been playing well before the New Year and want to get off to a good start.”
“The Beard” received an inbound pass from Gerald Green as the Rockets trailed 134-132 with five seconds remaining in the bonus period. Harden caught the ball and was quickly picked up defensively by Klay Thompson. Harden crossed up Thompson and ran to his right, using a screen from P.J. Tucker to create more space. He then jumped up and launched a deep 3-pointer, with Draymond Green contesting the shot.
Harden nailed the heave, while falling to the floor. He called his confidence “through the roof” during his postgame interview.
“We let them get going,” Green said. “They went on their run. They’re a great team. You let them find a rhythm and once they find a rhythm it’s hard to break it. So we just gotta be better.”
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 35 points. Kevin Durant and Thompson each scored 26 points. Green had nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Rockets big-man Clint Capela had 29 points and pulled down 21 rebounds in the win.
The Warriors battle the Sacramento Kings at 10 p.m. on Saturday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. The Rockets face the Portland Trail Blazers at 10 p.m. on Saturday at Moda Center in Portland.