HOUSTON — James Harden scored 45 points, including all nine for Houston in overtime, and the Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 108-103 on Wednesday night after firing coach Kevin McHale earlier in the day.
Corey Brewer made an off-balance 3-pointer to force overtime and Harden took over from there, finishing with 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals as the Rockets capped an emotional day at the Toyota Center.
It almost ended with a fifth straight loss before Brewer made his shot with 0.9 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 99.
Just hours after McHale was fired, the Rockets played much of the game with sloppy mistakes and dreadful shooting. Interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff, son of longtime NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff, served in his first game as head coach.
The Blazers dropped their seventh straight, their worst losing streak since closing 2012-13 on a 13-game skid. Damian Lillard led Portland with 23 points.
Houston snapped its longest skid since the 2012-13 season. Dwight Howard hauled in 19 rebounds, and Trevor Ariza had 18 points.
SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker scored a season-high 25 points and San Antonio never trailed in beating Denver for its sixth straight victory.
Kawhi Leonard added 20 points, Tim Duncan had 12 and LaMarcus Aldridge 11 for the Spurs, undefeated at home after five games. Patty Mills was 3 for 6 on 3-pointers in scoring a season-high 17 points.
Denver rookie Nikola Jokic had 23 points off the bench, and Gary Harris added 15.
The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili, who will miss the next two games with bilateral hip tightness.
BOSTON — Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points, Wesley Matthews had 18 and Dallas erased an 18-point, first-half deficit to defeat Boston for its fifth consecutive win.
Zaza Pachulia had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavericks. Deron Williams added 16 points, including consecutive key baskets.
Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 19 points. Jared Sullinger had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Avery Bradley scored 18 as the Celtics had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Dallas trailed 89-82 with just under 8 minutes to play before going on a 14-2 run over the ensuing 5:04.
The Celtics closed to 104-102 and had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Raymond Felton stole the ball from Thomas in the closing seconds.
PHILADELPHIA — Paul George scored 34 points and C.J. Miles added 20 to lead Indiana to a rout of winless Philadelphia.
T.J. McConnell scored 16 points for Philadelphia, which dropped to 0-12 while setting a season high with 31 turnovers.
The 76ers are within five losses of matching last season’s franchise-worst start and six defeats from tying the NBA record, set by the 2009 Nets, for longest losing streak to begin a season. Philadelphia opens a six-game road trip on Friday in Charlotte.
It was the 76ers’ 22nd loss in a row dating to last season, four from equaling the NBA record they already share with Cleveland.
George, who has scored at least 26 points in eight straight games, finished 13 for 24 from the field and 5 for 10 from 3-point range.
PHOENIX — Jimmy Butler scored a season-high 32 points and Chicago beat Phoenix for its fourth victory in a row.
Pau Gasol added 17 points and eight rebounds, Kirk Hinrich scored 14 and former Phoenix guard Aaron Brooks had 12 points as Chicago ended the Suns’ three-game winning streak.
Bulls guard Derrick Rose sat out with a sore left ankle.
Butler’s 3-pointer with 1:08 to play gave Chicago a 99-92 lead, and he followed it up with a dunk with 9.2 seconds left.
Brandon Knight paced Phoenix with 23 points.
ATLANTA — Paul Millsap scored 23 points, including a running one-hander with 15.7 seconds remaining as Atlanta held off Sacramento.
The Hawks, who had lost four of five, appeared in good shape when Lamar Patterson hit a layup off an extra pass from Thabo Sefolosha, pushing Atlanta to a 99-88 lead with 2:49 left.
The Kings responded by going on a 9-0 run, putting Atlanta on the cusp of another tough defeat. The Hawks had lost their previous two games by a combined three points.
Millsap, who also had 16 rebounds, made sure they didn’t drop another close one. After a timeout, he drove past Rudy Gay and put up the shot that essentially sealed the victory.
After Marco Belinelli committed the last of Sacramento’s 20 turnovers, Sefolosha came up with the ball and knocked down two free throws for the final margin.
DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Kings. Rajon Rondo managed a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
Dennis Schroder, starting at point guard in place of injured Jeff Teague, had 22 points for the Hawks.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook had 43 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and Oklahoma City recovered from a slow start to beat injury-depleted New Orleans.
Enes Kanter added 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder, who bounced back after blowing fourth-quarter leads in losses to Boston and Memphis. The Thunder (7-5) are 2-2 without star forward Kevin Durant, who missed his fourth straight game with a hamstring injury.
Ryan Anderson scored 30 points for New Orleans (1-11), which lost its fifth straight game. The Pelicans suited up only nine players, with standout forward Anthony Davis sitting out with a shoulder injury sustained Tuesday against Denver.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nicolas Batum had 24 points and eight assists as Charlotte held off Brooklyn.
Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker chipped in with 18 points apiece for the Hornets, who have won six of nine to get back to .500. Marvin Williams scored 14 points and Jeremy Lin had 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Hornets (6-6).
Thaddeus Young had 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting for the struggling Nets. Brook Lopez added 23 points.
Batum bounced back from a 1-of-9 shooting night Tuesday against New York and returned to the form that earned him Eastern Conference player of the week last week.
TIMBERWOLVES 101, OT
ORLANDO, Fla. — Evan Fournier scored 26 points and hit a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left in overtime to push Orlando past Minnesota.
Elfrid Payton had 24 points and six assists for the Magic. Tobias Harris finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Andrew Wiggins led the Timberwolves with 28 points. Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Towns made two free throws with 40.6 seconds left in overtime to tie it at 101. Minnesota had Fournier trapped behind the 3-point line, but he split the defenders and drilled the winning shot.
Minnesota forced overtime when Wiggins banked in a driving layup with 2.1 seconds left to make it 93-all. Towns then blocked a layup by Harris at the buzzer.
SALT LAKE CITY — Alec Burks made the go-ahead jumper with 1:12 left and scored nine of his 13 points in Utah’s big fourth quarter, helping the Jazz beat Toronto.
Derrick Favors had 18 points, 11 rebounds and a clinching three-point play for the Jazz, who trailed by six midway through the final period before an 11-2 run gave them their first lead since the second quarter.
Rodney Hood had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Jazz. Gordon Hayward finished with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Luis Scola carried the offensive load for Toronto in the first half with 18 points and finished with a season-high 22. Kyle Lowry scored 20 and had six assists.