The Clippers have struggled since acquiring James Harden, losing six consecutive games after the deal was announced. That skid ended Friday night, as the Clippers outlasted the visiting Rockets, 106–100, for Harden’s first win with Los Angeles.
Fittingly, it was Harden who hit the winning shot over his former team. With the game tied at 100 and less than 10 seconds on the clock, Harden drained a step-back three-pointer to give the Clippers a lead they would not surrender. The veteran guard also was fouled on the play, and he made the free throw to boost Los Angeles’s lead to four.
Kawhi Leonard tacked on two late free throws to account for the final score, but Harden’s feat was the pivotal moment.
JAMES HARDEN CLUTCH pic.twitter.com/gpNXB9u8ot— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) November 18, 2023
Harden had his best game as a Clipper thus far, finishing the game with 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. The 10-time All-Star made eight of 11 shots from the field and was one of three Clippers to score over 20 points, joining Leonard (26) and Paul George (24).
After the game, Harden could have kept the game-winning ball as a souvenir, but he instead made a classy move to give the ball to a young fan. The Clippers social media team caught the moment on camera.
Game-winning game ball from Harden ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/gP8SITbqGE— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 18, 2023
The Clippers improved to 4-7 on the season with the win, and they boast a strong 4-1 home record. Harden promised that he just needed time to get into “Harden shape” with his new team, and he took another step toward that goal on Friday night.
The Clippers play at the Spurs (3–9) on Monday night at 8 p.m. ET.