Harden ties career-high 14 assists in win over Heat
Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports

James Harden was firing on all cylinders Tuesday - much to the Miami Heat's chagrin.

The Houston Rockets All-Star had to shoulder a heavier load than usual as Dwight Howard served a one-game suspension, and he answered by putting his fingerprints all over the 115-102 victory, effectively ending his team's three-game slide.

His 26 points (10-of-19 from the field), four rebounds, two steals, and one block were punctuated by 14 dimes, which ties his career high.

Related: Harden looks one way, passes the other

Also picking up the slack in Howard's absence was recently re-acquired forward Josh Smith, who started the contest at the center position. He finished with 19 points - his best scoring output since returning to Houston - four boards, two steals, and a block.

While the Heat were buoyed offensively by Luol Deng's 17 points and Dwyane Wade's 16, the Rockets never trailed.

Despite seven different Miami players scoring in double figures - the injury-plagued Amar'e Stoudemire shone with 14 points and 10 boards - they couldn't prevent the determination of Harden and company.

The Rockets' record improves to 26-25 as they prepare to face the Phoenix Suns next in hopes of protecting their weak grip on the 7th seed in the Western Conference.

Harden ties career-high 14 assists in win over Heat
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