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Harden, Rockets pull out OT win after firing McHale

By AP - Nov 20,2015 - Last updated at Nov 20,2015

Houston Rockets’ James Harden shoots a three-point shot over Portland Trail Blazers’ Allen Crabbe in overtime of an NBA basketball game in Houston, on Wednesday (AP photo by Pat Sullivan)

HOUSTON — James Harden scored 45 points, including all nine for Houston in overtime, as the Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 108-103 on Wednesday 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 Centre.

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.

San Antonio’s Tony Parker scored a season-high 25 points as the Spurs never trailed in beating the Denver Nuggets 109-98 for their 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.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points for Dallas and Wesley Matthews had 18 as the Mavericks erased an 18-point, first-half deficit to defeat the Boston Celtics Boston 106-102 for their 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.

In Philadelphia, Paul George scored 34 points and C.J. Miles added 20 to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 112-85 rout of the winless 76ers.

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 equalling the NBA record they already share with Cleveland.

The Chicago Bulls downed the Phoenix Suns 103-97 for their fourth victory after Jimmy Butler scored a season-high 32 points.

Pau Gasol added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Kirk Hinrich scored 14 as 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.


In other games, Paul Millsap scored 23 points as the Atlanta Hawks held off the Sacramento Kings 103-97, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 110-103, the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Brooklyn Nets 116-111, the Orlando Magic had a 104-101 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz downed the Toronto Raptors 93-89.

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