Harden, Rockets beat Bobcats to snap 7-game skid
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Struggling with his jump shot, James Harden turned to his backup plan on offense.
Harden decided the best way to help the Houston Rockets snap a seven-game losing streak was to start taking the ball to the basket, draw contact and get to the foul line.
That strategy worked pretty well on Monday.
Harden scored 29 points and hit all 10 of his free throws in the fourth quarter as the Rockets rallied to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 100-94 in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee.
Harden made just 5 of 20 field goals, but went 19 of 21 from the free throw line. He was perfect from the line when the Rockets overcame a seven-point deficit in the final period.
"It felt like winning a championship," Harden said of snapping the losing streak. "It feels good. We have had our losing ways and just to get this one off our back, go back home and get that confidence back is big. Maybe we can get our swagger back a little bit."
Kemba Walker was 6 of 7 on 3-pointers and had a career-high 35 points for the Bobcats, who set a franchise record with their 15th straight loss at home.
The longest home losing streak in NBA history is 19 straight by Dallas during the 1993-94 season.
Ramon Sessions added 19 points for the Bobcats.
But while Walker was phenomenal, it was Harden who took over when the game was on the line.
"We got in the penalty really early, so we decided to get the line as much as we can," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale.
"But 21 times is pretty amazing. James was what, 5 for 20 from the field, with 29 points. That's hard to do."
Marcus Morris had 21 points and tied a career high with eight rebounds for the Rockets. Carlos Delfino scored 16 points, including a 3-pointer from the right corner that put Houston ahead for good at 96-94 with 1:54 left.
Harden has led the Rockets in scoring in 22 of the past 23 games. He also finished with seven assists and seven rebounds while playing 42 minutes.
While McHale was thankful to get out of Charlotte with a win, he wasn't exactly thrilled with his team's overall sloppy play.
"We've got to play better," McHale said. "We were missing layups, bouncing the ball off our knee, you know, it was kind of like a comedy act there for a while. That happens. We've been in a funk and we've got to work our way out of it."