James Harden explodes for 37, Rockets outgun Pistons
Detroit, MI, United States (4E Sports) – James Harden recorded 37 points and 12 dimes while Jeremy Lin contributed 12 points and 8 assists as the Houston Rockets exploded in the fourth quarter to beat the Detroit Pistons, 105-96, Wednesday at Palace of Auburn Hills.
Fresh from agreeing to a reported five-year, $80 million pact, Harden delivered a monster game in his first outing with the Rockets as he set career high in assists and fell just three points short of his career-high.
Despite starting only seven times in three seasons with Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden immediately flourished in his new role as the Rockets’ main scorer and closer.
The Rockets-Pistons opener was a back-and-forth contest, featuring 8 lead changes and four deadlocks. But the real battle took place in the fourth quarter as both teams traded big baskets in the most crucial stretch.
The Pistons took an 11-point advantage after Jonas Jerebko made a layup with a tick left in the stanza. However, the Rockets came up with a huge scoring spree behind the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and three-point bombs from another newcomer in Carlos Delfino.
Delfino (15 pts, 7 rebs) knocked down four treys to spark a 33-point onslaught in the fourth and Harden put the icing on the cake with a three-point play to give the Rockets a 104-94 lead with 1:27 remaining.
Brandon Knight scored a team-high 15 points and former Duke Blue Devils star Kyle Singler contributed 10 points in his NBA debut.