Mark Jackson wanted ‘old school.’ He got old schooled.

There were no hard fouls, though there were plenty of every other kind. There was nothing approaching a 3-point shooting record. But the Rockets did what teams did in the old days the Warriors coach celebrated a week earlier in Houston. They played through pain, and scored the way they did in the 80s.

James Harden took care of the pain part. He began the night with his left knee aching only on the occasions he ran. Or jumped. Or moved. Then things got worse. He stepped on David Lee’s left foot, and hobbled to the locker room, limping through the rest of the game before clinching the Rockets’ 116-107 second-half surge past the Warriors with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer in the final minutes.

With the offensive roll, the Rockets have scored more than 108 points for nine-consecutive games, their longest streak since the 1985-86 season.


“I barely could walk,” Harden said. “I was limping. I’m still limping. But I kind of felt the momentum going our way in the third quarter. We got a couple stops and I think our energy was picking up. I didn’t want to shut it down. I tried to make the right play and help my teammates do whatever it takes to win.

“I just saw the replay and it was pretty bad. The outside of my ankle touched the ground.”

Harden would not rule himself out against the Clippers tonight, but it seemed extremely unlikely he would be able to bounce back that quickly. His ankle was already swelling minutes after removing it from the ice in the locker room. He aggravated his sore knee on a fall in the first quarter.

“I’m tough enough,” Harden said. “My main focus is on tomorrow, getting the right treatment, icing as much as possible, try to get my ankle ready and my knee ready. My whole body hurts.”

Harden led the way with 27 points, but while clearly favoring his injuries, he made 7 of 22 shots, relying instead from his touch at the line where he made all 11 of his attempts. Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin picked up the slack, with Parsons scoring 21 points with nine assists and eight rebounds and Lin getting 14 points with 10 assists and no turnovers.

“I saw it and it looked kind of nasty,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “I give him a lot of credit’ he sucked it up and came back and we needed him.”