The Lakers were up, 122-119 when the league MVP candidate drove hard to the basket and missed a layup during the final minute of the fourth quarter. A limping Harden was unable to return for defense and was immediately brought out of the game, finishing with 40 points and 11 assists.
In the absence of their star, newly-acquired point guard Chris Paul led the Rockets to a 148-142 victory in double-overtime, which finally snapped their five-game losing streak.
Harden, for his part, was later diagnosed with a Grade 2 hamstring strain, but he was positive that there was nothing to be worried about. “Just a pull on the hammy. Got some treatment right now so hopefully, from day to day it gets better,” he said. The Rockets will rest Harden for two weeks before reassessing him.