Hou 25 30 20 24 16 115
Den 29 31 18 21 12 111
Date of game: 12/17/2014

Recap: Denver vs. Houston

Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden scored a season-high 44 points on Thursday and posted his third career triple-double on Saturday.

He continued the trend of MVP-like performances by dropping 41 points and 10 assists in the Houston Rockets' 115-111 overtime win against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

After erupting for 23 points in the first half, Harden was limited to 10 in nearly 21 second-half minutes. He also missed a free throw late in regulation that could have sealed the victory.

But he scored eight straight Houston points during the extra session to help the Rockets win their third straight game.

"I couldn't throw a rock in the ocean in those first 40-plus minutes of the game," Harden said. "But I just have the confidence. I work on my shot every day. Confidence is a big thing. My teammates have confidence in me to shoot the basketball and I shot it."

Dwight Howard added 24 points and 16 rebounds in his second game back from a knee injury, and Patrick Beverley gave 12 points and 12 boards.

The Rockets trailed by three following Kenneth Faried's tip slam with 1:24 left in regulation. Howard, who missed three of his previous four free throws, sank a pair from the line to pull Houston within a point with just over a minute to go.

A pair of misses on the other end led to Harden's stepback 3 from the left wing with 10.4 left. Out of a timeout, Harden intercepted Faried's pass under the basket and had a chance to seal it from the stripe, but he split the pair, leaving the door open.

Out of timeouts, Ty Lawson raced down the floor and handed to Arron Afflalo, who forced OT with a 3-ball as the buzzer went off.

Donatas Motiejunas, who scored 18 for Houston, made consecutive shots from the post to start overtime, but Denver went in front on Danilo Gallinari's 3- pointer with 2:43 remaining.

But Harden scored the next four points and gave Houston a 111-108 cushion with 23.9 seconds left with two free throws.

Beverley put the game away, making 4-of-4 from the line in the final 18 seconds.

Wilson Chandler led Denver with 23 points, Afflalo scored 22 and Lawson handed out 16 assists.

"I'm proud of the guys and the way they played. So these kinds of losses I can stomach a little bit better," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said.

Denver led 33-32 early in the second quarter when Lawson's short jumper sparked a 14-1 run. Faried capped the burst with a dunk, and the Nuggets had built a 47-33 advantage.

The spread grew to 16 later in the period before Howard and Harden led the Rockets back. The duo combined for 20 of Houston's 30 points in the stanza, and the hosts trailed 60-55 at the half.

Houston took its first lead since it led 16-14 in the first quarter on a Harden stepback jumper midway through the third, but Denver regained the lead and went into the fourth with a 78-75 lead.

Game Notes

The Rockets beat Denver 108-96 on Saturday ... Harden shot 18-for-21 from the foul line. The Nuggets shot 18-for-23 from the line as a team ... Denver's bench outscored Houston's, 42-7 ... Lawson played a game-high 46:45, while all five Rockets starters posted between 41:46 and 46:04 ... Denver has lost seven of eight.

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