Rockets' Harden exits with strained left hammy

HOUSTON — Rockets guard James Harden strained his left hamstring and did not return after leaving late in the fourth quarter of a 148-142 double-overtime win against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Harden came up limping and dragging his left leg gingerly after he missed on a drive to the basket with 54 seconds left. The Rockets MVP candidate exited the game with 44 seconds left and was ruled out by the team in the second overtime. Harden had 40 points and 11 assists.

Afterward, Harden had a noticeable limp as he favored his left hamstring while walking in the locker room. But the guard was in good spirits, yelling, “Yeah Tuck!” in the locker room to acknowledge PJ Tucker’s clutch play in the win.

Harden said he felt his hamstring pull as he went up for a driving layup.

“Hopefully it is not that serious, just a pull on the hammy,” an optimistic Harden said afterward. “Just got some treatment right now and hopefully, day to day, it gets better.”

“But I’ll be good,” Harden added. “[It was concerning] especially [when] you don’t know what it is or you have never experienced it before. Like I really can’t run. If I am going to play. But I really couldn’t run so let me go back here and see what is going on. We’ll see. I think we don’t play again until [Wednesday against Orlando] … So I got a couple of days.”

“Yeah, we lost our horse,” Chris Paul said after scoring 15 of his 28 points in the two overtimes. Paul, in his first year with the Rockets, added that shouldering the scoring load is “nothing new” for him in his career.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said it’s too early to tell the severity of Harden’s injury.

“I don’t think we’ll know [more] until [Monday],” D’Antoni said. “I don’t think they’ll be able to assess it until [Monday] morning.”

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