Harden also broke the franchise record for most points in a game, overtaking the 57 recorded by Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy in 1978. Murphy was also on hand to witness it and was shown cheering Harden's accomplishment.
The Rockets began the contest without Chris Paul (sore groin), and Trevor Ariza (strained hamstring). Launching 14 threes. Given the freedom to operate without his Hall-of-Fame backcourt mate, Harden took full advantage, and reminded the rest of the National Basketball Association what he can do when given the keys to the auto for a full game.
Harden reached the 60-point milestone with a four-point play, stepping back and draining a three-pointer while being fouled by Mario Hezonja.
Harden was involved in three-quarters of his team's points, dishing out 11 assists, snagging 10 boards and playing all but 94 seconds of the match. He then made the free throw to give him 60 points and bringing the crowd to its feet.
Harden, who also had four steals and a block, grabbed his 10th rebound a few seconds later to earn his third triple-double this season.
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"I looked at coach and said: "Eric can't go, '" Harden said "He said 'go get 'em" and after that I didn't come out of the game". "I caught myself just being a true fan throughout the whole game. what he did today was remarkable". The Magic finished 4 of 8 from behind the arc in the opening period, with Augustin and Speights adding treys down the stretch to lift Orlando to a 30-27 lead entering the second quarter.
Scores were tied in Texas with two minutes remaining before Houston's All-Star guard led a seven-point run to overcome the middle-of-the-table Magic 114-107. Eric Gordon exited the game in the first quarter with an injury of his own. He will likely sit out Wednesday as well.
The Pistons' Andre Drummond tallied 21 points and 22 rebounds, while Stanley Johnson added a career-high 26 points. Steven Adams contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook had 13 points and 10 assists.
Magic coach Frank Vogel on Harden's performance: "That was a heck of a performance when your second, third and fourth options are out". He did what he had to do to get a win.
"C'mon @JHarden13! Now that's insane G!"