NBA: Despite blow to head, Harden leads Rockets past Raptors


Posted at Dec 06 2019 02:06 PM

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives between Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) and guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the first half at Scotiabank Arena. John E. Sokolowski-USA Today Sports via Reuters

The visiting Houston Rockets defeated the Toronto Raptors 119-109 Thursday night with James Harden scoring 6 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter after leaving the game briefly at the end of the third with a head injury.

After Harden attempted a running floater near the end of the third, Serge Ibaka hit Harden in the head with an elbow or forearm while appearing to position himself for a potential rebound. 

Harden was on his back for a few minutes before going to the dressing room on his own power. He returned early in the fourth quarter.

Russell Westbrook had 19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while shooting just 7-for-27, while Ben McLemore led the Rockets in scoring with 28 points.

PJ Tucker added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, Danuel House Jr. had 16 points and Clint Capela had 6 points and 13 rebounds.

Pascal Siakam had 24 points and 9 rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost 2 in a row. Fred VanVleet added 20 points, Kyle Lowry had 19, Norman Powell had 14 and Ibaka 10.

The Raptors cut Houston's lead to a point less than 4 minutes into the fourth quarter but Harden's 3-pointer capped a 12-3 Rockets run and bumped Houston's lead to 10 points with 6:31 remaining.

Toronto cut that to 6 on Marc Gasol's layup with 1:39 to play.

A foul call against Houston's Austin Rivers was overturned on a challenge by the Rockets with 1:14 play and the foul was instead charged to VanVleet. Westbrook then hit a jumper for an 8-point Houston lead with 54.1 seconds left.

The Rockets led 34-28 after the first quarter.

The lead reached 16 on McLemore's 3-pointer with 4:16 left in the second quarter. The Raptors then went on a 13-5 surge and the first half ended with Houston leading 63-55.

The Rockets took a 12-point lead on Harden's 3-pointer with 8:34 to play in the third quarter. 

The Raptors answered with a 12-0 run capped by Lowry's 3-pointer to tie the game at 74-74 with 5:54 to play in the third. VanVleet's layup gave Toronto a 3-point lead with 4:53 remaining. Houston regained a 3-point lead with 2:04 left in the period on 3-pointers by Rivers and McLemore, who made eight 3-pointers on the night.

The Rockets led 94-88 after three quarters.