Houston Rockets guard James Harden goes to the basket past Pistons guard Brandon Knight during the first half Wednesday in Detroit.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — James Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in a stirring debut for Houston, and Carlos Delfino made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift the Rockets to a 105-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
Detroit led 83-72 early in the fourth, but Harden and Delfino brought the Rockets back. Houston acquired Harden on Saturday night in a trade with Oklahoma City and agreed Wednesday on a five-year, $80 million contract extension with him.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year certainly looked worth it in the season opener. Harden fell just short of his career high of 40 points, and his 12 assists were a career best.
Brandon Knight led Detroit with 15 points.
Jeremy Lin, Houston's other big acquisition, had 12 points and eight assists. The Rockets won without Patrick Patterson, who was out with a left quad strain.
With Houston down 11 points, Harden started the comeback with a 3-pointer, and Greg Smith followed with a dunk. Detroit led 85-83 after consecutive 3-pointers by Delfino, then a layup by Chandler Parsons tied it.
Smith dunked to put the Rockets ahead 89-87, and he dunked again to make it a four-point game before hobbling off with an apparent injury.
A dunk by Detroit's Jonas Jerebko cut the lead to two, but Delfino made two more 3-pointers to make it 97-89.
Harden pretty much put the game away with a three-point play with 1:27 remaining that put Houston ahead 104-94.
Attendance was announced at 16,646, and there were plenty of empty seats on Halloween. The fans who did turn out saw an entertaining performance by the Pistons that ultimately fell short.
Harden scored 19 points in the first half, but Detroit led 58-55 after a 36-point second quarter.
The Rockets led 65-58 after Harden's two-handed dunk off a nice one-handed bounce pass from Lin. The Pistons looked terrific for the rest of the quarter. They scored 13 straight points — including consecutive dunks by Greg Monroe and Jason Maxiell — to take a 71-65 lead.
A 3-pointer by Harden cut the deficit to two, but Detroit ran off another eight straight points and led 79-69 following a basket by Kyle Singler.
It was 81-72 after three quarters.
NOTES: Detroit's Corey Maggette was out with a left calf strain. ... Harden was in the starting lineup. He started only seven games in three seasons in Oklahoma City, as he developed into an indispensable reserve. ... There was a brief delay near the end of the second quarter when what looked like steam began coming out of a generator behind one of the baskets.
PACERS 90, RAPTORS 88
TORONTO — George Hill scored the go-ahead basket with two seconds left, completing the Pacers' rally for a season-opening win.
David West scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and Paul George had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers, who trailed 84-74 with just under six minutes left. Roy Hibbert added 14 points for Indiana.
Kyle Lowry led Toronto with 21 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 10 rebounds in his NBA debut.
SPURS 99, HORNETS 95
NEW ORLEANS — Tim Duncan scored 24 points, Tony Parker hit a huge 3-pointer, and the Spurs opened the season with a victory over the Hornets in the debut for top draft pick Anthony Davis.
Davis scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds. But the wily Spurs showed the rebuilding Hornets a thing or two.
After Davis made two free throws with 1:08 remaining to give New Orleans its final lead, 95-94, the Spurs closed strong. Parker connected from beyond the arc with 49.6 seconds left, finishing with 23 points. After Greivis Vasquez missed an open 3, Duncan padded the lead with two fouls shots.
BULLS 93, KINGS 87
CHICAGO — Joakim Noah scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Bulls got off to a good start without Derrick Rose.
Richard Hamilton added 19 points, while Carlos Boozer chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Bulls are out to show they can get by while their superstar recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and this was promising even if it was a struggle.
76ERS 84, NUGGETS 75
PHILADELPHIA — Spencer Hawes had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the 76ers.
Coming off the bench, Hawes had five blocked shots. Jrue Holiday had 14 and 11 assists, and Dorell Wright scored 14 points.
Ty Lawson led Denver with 16 points in his first game since signing an $18 million deal.
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