James missed two late free throws that would have given the Cavaliers (37-24) the lead with four seconds remaining. He finished with a game-high 37 points and added eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks, but also went 3 of 11 from the free-throw line.
[daily_cut.NBA] "I didn’t come through for my teammates tonight," James told reporters after the game. "I tricked the game up at the free throw line."
Harden scored 33 points to lead the Rockets (41-18) and posted eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.
The two superstars were also involved in an incident earlier in the game, when Harden kicked James in the groin as James tried to grab the ball away. Several Cavaliers players were reportedly upset that Harden was not ejected. Harden said the kick was not intentional.
The Rockets won their first regular-season matchup with the Cavaliers on Jan. 7 in Cleveland, 105-93. James did not play, while Harden led the Rockets with 21 points and nine assists.
- Mike Fiammetta