James Harden scored 29 points, but the Rockets never led Monday night at Toyota Center and lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 115-107.
Harden shot just 8-of-21 from the field, 3-of-7 from behind the 3-point line, and as a team, the Rockets made less than 40 percent of their shots as they fall to 5-3 after losing for the second straight game for the first time all season.
The Rockets never led in the game, and trailed by as many 14 in the second half, but a pair of Harden free throws with 3:06 left to play put the Rockets on a 12-3 run to bring them within five, when Harden stole the ball from Sixers center Joel Embiid. In transition he tried to lob the ball up for Clint Capela, but the Rockets center couldn’t finish, and Philadelphia responded by scoring the next seven points to put the game away.
Ben Simmons led the Sixers with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting. He added nine assists and seven rebounds, while Embiid hit on 9-of-12 shots for a 22 point, nine rebound night as the Sixers improve to 3-4.
Harden scored 13 in the first quarter, but with the help of Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot’s 11 points off the bench, the Sixers closed the period on a 21-11 run and led 37-27 after the game’s first 12 minutes, and Jerryd drained a 3-pointer on Philadelphia’s first possession to push the lead to 13, though the Rockets rallied before the break and closed to within a bucket, but as they did in the first quarter, the Sixers outscored the Rockets by 10 in the third to get the lead back to double-digits.
Eric Gordon added 25 points, but he could only knock down five of his 14 attempts from long distance. As a team, the Rockets shot less than 28 percent from the 3-point line.
Clint Capela chipped in 12 points and 15 rebounds, but the rest of his teammates combined to grab 20 boards, while Philadelphia out-rebounded the Rockets 48-35.
The Rockets will be back in action Wednesday night when they take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.