By Erik Williams/USA Today

Harden, Capela Lead Rockets To Win Over Thunder

Harden scores 41 points while Capela grabs 23 boards in Rockets win

December 25, 2018 - 5:57 pm

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- James Harden scored 41 points while Clint Capela grabbed 23 rebounds in the Rockets 113-109 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Christmas Day at Toyota Center.

Harden shot 15-of-35 from the field while adding six rebounds and seven assists.

Ten of Capela's 23 boards came from the offensive end of the floor. He also scored 16 points. It's his second straight 23 rebound game.

Eric Gordon chipped in 17 points while Austin Rivers scored 10 in his Rockets debut. 

After Harden's 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left in the first quarter tied the game at 22, Oklahoma City recovered from a 33 percent shooting first period to shoot 64 percent in the second, taking a 60-52 lead into the locker room. Harden finished the half with 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting, while the rest of the Rockets combined to shoot 34 percent.

Houston scored the first eight points of the second half and following Jerami Grant's fadweay to end the run, Eric Gordon connected from long distance to give the Rockets the lead which would get to as many as three in the quarter, but Paul George's put-back with 2.8 seconds left gave the Thunder an 88-86 lead going to the game's final period. 

With Harden on the bench for the first 4:05 of the fourth quarter the lead changed hands three times, the third of which came when Danuel House broke a 93-93 tie with a three-pointer with 8:53 to play. The Rockets led the rest of the way, leading by as many as nine. Oklahoma City pulled to within two when Paul George made a pair of free throws with 43.6 seconds left, but Harden answered with a floater to put the game away.

The win improves the Rockets to 18-15 on the season. They have won seven of their last eight games.

George's 28 points, 14 rebound game led Oklahoma City, while Russell Westbrook added 21 points, but needed 20 shots to get them.

The Rockets will be in action again Thursday night when they host the Boston Celtics.