AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — James Harden had 28 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, lifting the Houston Rockets to a 99-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.
Clint Capela added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Rockets, who won their third straight game.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 26 points and Andre Drummond had 13 points and 16 rebounds for Detroit, which has lost four in a row.
With the Rockets clinging to a one-point lead and less than 10 seconds left, Harden made a free throw and missed the second, leaving Houston up 98-96.
Drummond rebounded the miss and was immediately fouled by Capela with 4.6 seconds to go. Drummond missed both free throws, and the Pistons fouled Harden, who made one of two.
Caldwell-Pope then missed a halfcourt heave at the buzzer.
Detroit led by 12 in the first quarter and took a 29-18 lead early in the second on Jon Leuer’s dunk. The Rockets, however, chipped away and tied it 43-all on Capela’s alley-oop dunk from Harden with 4:11 left in the period.
The Pistons regained a two-point edge, but Harden scored the final seven points of the first half to put Houston ahead 51-46.
Houston stretched its lead to 11 in the third quarter and settled for a 79-75 advantage heading into the final period.
The Pistons used an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to open an 85-82 lead. The teams went back and forth the rest of the way, and neither led by more than four points.
Detroit, trailing 96-95 with 55 seconds left, had a chance to take the lead, but Ish Smith missed a layup. Harden made one free throw to leave Houston ahead 97-95 with 15.4 seconds left, and Caldwell-Pope answered with a free throw to get Detroit within one.
Rockets: Nene was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul in the third quarter after tripping Detroit’s Aron Baynes. The play was originally called a common foul, but after review it was upgraded to the Flagrant 1.
Detroit: Marcus Morris nailed a 33-foot 3-pointer over Harden’s outstretched hand to beat the third-quarter buzzer and cut Houston’s lead to 79-75. The play was reviewed and replays showed the ball left Morris’ hands just in time.
NO HOME COOKING
After starting the season 5-0 at home, the Pistons lost their second straight at the Palace. They lost Saturday to Boston 94-92 on Al Horford’s last-second shot. Detroit is just 1-7 on the road.
Rockets: At home Wednesday against Toronto.
Pistons: At home Wednesday against Miami.