James Harden’s remarkable season hit new heights, but he was unable to prevent the Houston Rockets from suffering a 145-142 overtime defeat to the Brooklyn Nets.
The reigning MVP finished with 58 points – breaking his season-high for the second time this week – as well as 10 rebounds and six assists, but the Rockets were overpowered by a late rally from Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Nets point guard poured in a total of 33 points, including 25 in the fourth quarter and overtime, and drained the three-pointer that forced overtime as well as the go-ahead basket with 28 seconds left in the extra period.
Defeat was tough on red-hot Harden, who has now scored at least 30 points in each of the last 18 games, although he did see his three-point figures slip at Toyota Center, hitting just five of 19.
Kyrie Irving, meanwhile, dominated at TD Garden as he returned from injury to lead the Boston Celtics to a 117-108 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
The 26-year-old top-scored for the Celtics with 27 points and stunned the Raptors with a 31ft three-pointer in the fourth as the Celtics bounced back from a three-game away losing run.
Stephen Curry scored 41 points to lift the Golden State Warriors to a 147-140 win over the New Orleans Pelicans and became the first NBA player in history to score at least eight three-pointers in three straight games.
The San Antonio Spurs recovered from a 19-point deficit to overcome the Dallas Mavericks 105-101, Davis Bertans proving the star man as he hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1.41 left on the clock.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s haul of 27 points and 11 rebounds was his 30th double-double of the campaign and helped the Milwaukee Bucks see off the Memphis Grizzlies 111-101.
The victory gave the Bucks their third win in a row while the Grizzlies slipped to a ninth loss in 10 games.
Elsewhere, the Detroit Pistons downed the Orlando Magic 120-115 in overtime, the Portland Trail Blazers toppled the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-112 and the Utah Jazz improved to five wins in a row after beating the Los Angeles Clippers 129-109.