HOUSTON – James Harden knew he’d have to do a little more on Tuesday night with the Houston Rockets missing key players.
Even he couldn’t have imagined he’d do this much.
Harden became the first player in NBA history to score 60 points as part of a triple-double and the short-handed Rockets beat the Orlando Magic 114-107.
“I just gave it all I had tonight,” Harden said. “We all did. We all fought for 48 minutes, we got key stops when we needed to and we made big shots.”
Harden scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to eclipse the 57 points Calvin Murphy scored in 1978 to break Houston’s single-game scoring record. After Harden broke the record, cameras in the arena showed a shot of Murphy, who works on the television broadcast team, smiling and clapping for the Beard, who also had 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
The game was tied at 107 after a basket by Marreese Speights with just under four minutes to play. Neither team scored for more than two minutes after that before Harden took over, scoring the next six points to make it 113-107 with 45 seconds left.
He set the scoring mark when he stepped back and made a 3-pointer before crashing to the court after being fouled by Mario Hezonja. He then made the free throw to give him 60 points and bringing the crowd to its feet.
“Amazing (and) topped it off with a four-point play at the end,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “But we had to have every minute from him.”
Harden, who also had four steals and a block, grabbed his 10th rebound a few seconds later to give him his third triple double this season. He made 17 of 18 free throws and was 19 of 30 from the floor with five 3 pointers.
He said he didn’t realize he was the first player with 60 points in a triple-double.
“It’s a good feeling, I guess,” he said. “Just try to go out there and make an impact every single night on the game, however I can. Whether it’s scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, whatever it is. And tonight I guess I was doing everything.”
Pistons 125, Cavaliers 114
In Detroit, Andre Drummond had 21 points and 22 rebounds, and the short-handed Pistons beat Cleveland after the Cavaliers lost Kevin Love to a potentially season-altering hand injury.
Love exited in the first quarter with a broken left hand, and the Pistons took advantage of his absence, snapping an eight-game losing streak despite a roster that was depleted by their blockbuster trade for Blake Griffin.
Wizards 102, Thunder 96
In Washington, beginning what could be a significant stretch without All-Star point guard John Wall, the Wizards got 25 points from Otto Porter Jr., limited Russell Westbrook to 13 and stopped Oklahoma City’s eight-game win streak.
Jazz 129, Warriors 99
In Salt Lake City, Ricky Rubio scored 23 points and handed out 11 assists as the Jazz stunned the Warriors.
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Warriors, who had won seven of eight before facing the Jazz. It was their largest loss of the season.
Knicks 111, Nets 95
In New York, Kristaps Porzingis scored 28 points, Enes Kanter had 20 points, 20 rebounds and five assists, and the Knicks completed a New York City sweep of the Nets with a victory.
The Knicks returned home from their longest road trip of the season in new uniforms but their same old dominance of the Nets, with their fourth victory in four tries this season. They dominated the interior again and swept the series for the first time since 2010-11 — before the rivals shared the same city.
Raptors 109, Timberwolves 104
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 11 rebounds and the Raptors rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat the Timberwolves.
Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka each scored 15 points and Jakob Poeltl had six of his 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Raptors won their 14th straight home meeting with the Timberwolves.
Kings 114, Pelicans 103
In New Orleans, Zach Randolph scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and the Kings beat the Pelicans.
Kosta Koufos had 17 points and 17 rebounds for Sacramento, who were able to exploit the absence of Pelicans All-Star and former King DeMarcus Cousins by getting double-doubles from both of their starting big men.
Spurs 106, Nuggets 104
In San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points and the Spurs escaped with a victory over the Nuggets.
The Spurs had four players in double figures, including 18 points each from Kyle Anderson and Pau Gasol.
Trail Blazers 104, Clippers 96
In Los Angeles, Damian Lillard scored 28 points and the Trail Blazers pulled away in the third quarter to beat the Clippers.
Los Angeles was playing its first game since Blake Griffin’s stunning trade to Detroit on Monday.