Harden, who did almost all his damage on drives to the basket in the first half, sank two 3-pointers during Houston's decisive spurt in the third quarter. He also hit a tough pull-up jumper to give the Rockets a 64-46 lead with 6:47 left.
The Hornets made one run in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 85-75 on Al-Farouq Aminu's follow dunk, but Carlos Delfino responded with a 3-pointer. After Anderson converted a three-point play to pull the Hornets within 10 again, Aminu missed badly on a shot and Harden drove to the basket for his own three-point play to make the score 91-78 with less than 3 minutes left.
The Rockets' bad stretch began with an 88-79 loss in New Orleans on Jan. 9 when they set a season low for points.
"This is where it all started going downhill," Patterson said. "We lost here and went on a losing streak. For us to get this win here against a solid team that's playing great basketball, hopefully this will carry over until tomorrow and we'll start building up a winning streak."
The Hornets shot 37.5 percent in the first half but took advantage of 14 Rockets turnovers — seven by Harden — to remain within striking distance. Five of the miscues came in a little more than 2 minutes as New Orleans cut a 36-26 deficit to 38-36.
The Rockets went back up 48-40 by halftime.
Harden helped the Rockets emerge from their losing skid by being aggressive as they took the lead for good early in the first quarter. He drove for a layup and hit a floater in the lane to tie the score at 11. He dribbled through the lane and converted a three-point play to put the Rockets ahead 14-11, then hit four free throws to stretch the lead to 22-16.
Houston ended the first quarter with five points on one possession. Greg Smith was fouled as he made a putback with 6 seconds left. He missed the free throw, but Houston grabbed the rebound and Delfino drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 1.3 seconds left to give the Rockets a 27-18 lead.
"We just have to keep our bodies moving, and our spacing is right," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "We usually come up with a pretty good shot if we don't turn it over."
NOTES: The teams completed their season series, with the Rockets winning three of four. ... A nifty pass to Davis for a monster dunk in the second quarter was Gordon's first assist in seven quarters. ... The Rockets started a stretch of four games in six days, with three on the road.
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