Harden's hoop completed an unconventional three-point play that gave Houston its seventh straight victory.
With less than five seconds remaining and the Wizards leading 112-110, Harden fell to the floor while trying to get open for an inbounds pass, drawing a foul on Trevor Ariza. Because the ball had not yet been put into play, Harden was awarded one foul shot, which he hit, and the Rockets retained possession.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Harden received the ball at the top of the key, driving to his left before stepping back to his right as he cut through traffic. The juke move created a clean look at a point-blank layup, and Harden didn't miss. The ball went through with less than a second remaining, giving the Rockets a one-point lead, and the Wizards were unable to score on the other end.
"I was just trying to be aggressive, trust my instincts," Harden told CSN Houston in a post-game interview. "Whether it was take an open shot or a lay-up, I just had confidence in it."
Harden finished with a game-high 35 points (on 8-for-14 shooting), six rebounds and six assists. Dwight Howard added 24 points (on 7-for-9 shooting) and 16 rebounds for Houston.
Ariza led the Wizards with 32 points (on 11-for-20 shooting, including 10 three-pointers), 11 rebounds and three assists. John Wall had 19 points (on 6-for-19 shooting) and 14 assists. The Rockets improved to 36-17. The Wizards dropped to 25-27.