By Adam Spolane

Following a brilliant 42-point night in Portland, James Harden struggled mightily Thursday at Toyota Center against the Detroit Pistons, but came alive when the Rockets needed him most in a 100-96 win in overtime.

Harden missed a floater at the buzzer which sent the game to overtime. Before the extra period, he shot just 2-of-16 from the field for 11 points, but the Rockets guard was brilliant in the extra period.

He started overtime with a 16-foot step back, and after Andre Drummond’s layup tied the game, Harden made a floater while getting fouled by Luke Kennard. He made the free throw, and the Rockets led the rest of the way. Harden scored 10 of the Rockets 12 points in overtime as they improve to 58-14 on the season, matching the franchise record for most wins in a season.

Houston moves to 4.5 games over Golden State for the West’s best record despite shooting just 35 percent for the game, connecting on just 12-of-51 shots from behind the 3-point line, but while the Pistons made 42 percent of their shots, they knocked down just 6-of-38 from behind the 3-point line, and that’s after making the last two they took.

Eric Gordon led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting.

Joe Johnson scored 11 for the Rockets, while P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela added 10.

The Rockets played without Chris Paul (knee) and Luc Mbah a Moute left the game in the first half with a knee injury.

Blake Griffin led the Pistons with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, but Detroit falls to 32-40.

The Rockets will try to break the franchise record for most wins in a season Saturday night when the host the New Orleans Pelicans at Toyota Center.


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