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Harden fuels Rockets past Mavs

DALLAS — James Harden was off to another rough shooting start against Dallas and not getting to his usual spot at the free throw line either, so Houston stayed in the game with 3-pointers.

With the score tied in the final minutes, the Rockets went to their All-Star guard.

Harden had an assist for an easy go-ahead dunk by Terrence Jones and scored the last of his 25 points on a clinching jumper that bounced on the rim several times in the Rockets' 100-96 victory over the Mavericks on Friday night.

"I'm just a playmaker," said Harden, who recovered from 3-of-12 shooting in the first half after missing his first 11 shots in a home loss to Dallas last month. "If I've got a shot, I shoot it. Or I make a pass."

First, Harden found Jones under the basket for a wide-open dunk to break a 96-all tie. Harden had nine assists and eight rebounds as the NBA's free throw leader found a way to make a difference despite not getting to the line until the third quarter and going 4 of 5 from there.

After Dirk Nowitzki missed a potential tying jumper, Harden finished off a 7-of-11 second half with a step-back jumper that hit the rim, then the backboard, then the rim a couple more times before dropping through for a four-point lead with 7 seconds left.

Houston won for the fourth time in five games with Dwight Howard getting a routine night of rest, and improved to 5-4 under interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff since he replaced the fired Kevin McHale.

"We can't settle," Bickerstaff said after the Rockets improved to 9-11. "We're not where we want to be."

Trevor Ariza was 4 of 7 from long range and finished with 18 points for the Rockets, who were 11 of 18 on 3s in the first half before cooling off and missing seven of eight after halftime.

PELICANS 114, CAVALIERS 108, OT: At New Orleans, Anthony Davis had 31 points, 12 rebounds and four steals, and New Orleans survived a stunning fourth-quarter surge by LeBron James.

Davis scored six points in the extra period on three jumpers from beyond 12 feet to help the Pelicans (5-15) pull out a much-needed victory. Eric Gordon had 19 points and Ryan Anderson 18 for the Pelicans, who led by 13 with less than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Cavs stormed back to take a late lead, with James scoring 21 of Cleveland's last 24 points of regulation.

Jrue Holiday's 3 pulled New Orleans back into a tie at 105 with 8 seconds left before James, who finished with 37 points, missed a 19-footer that could have won it.

KNICKS 108, NETS 91: At New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, Kristaps Porzingis had 19 and New York beat Brooklyn to get back to .500.

Arron Afflalo added 18 points for the Knicks (10-10), who dominated lowly Philadelphia and Brooklyn in their last two games after a four-game losing streak. They reclaimed city bragging rights with ease, leading by as much as 31 points.

HAWKS 100, LAKERS 87: At Atlanta, Al Horford scored 16 points, Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore each added 15 as the Hawks beat Los Angeles to spoil Kobe Bryant's last game in Atlanta.

In the third game since announcing his retirement plans earlier this week, Bryant scored 14 points on 4-for-19 shooting. Lou Williams topped the struggling Lakers with 18 points.

Bryant showed a few flashes of his once-dominant skills, holding up three fingers on each hand after hitting consecutive 3-pointers in the third to bring the loudest cheers.

PISTONS 102, BUCKS 95: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Andre Drummond had 17 points and 23 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson scored 23 points as Detroit beat Milwaukee.

Drummond was 7-for-18 from the field and 3 for 10 at the line. It was his fifth 20-rebound game of the season; the rest of the NBA has combined for only three.

WIZARDS 109, SUNS 106: At Washington, Bradley Beal scored 34 points and Ramon Sessions added 18 as Washington rallied to beat Phoenix in a turnover-filled game.

Washington improved to 8-9 after losing five of its previous six games.

Houston forward Terrence Jones (6) attempts a layup as Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) defends during the first half Friday in Dallas. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS