When he couldn't find a rhythm from beyond the arc, Harden took to the paint, where he scored 16 of his points. Houston outscored New Orleans 60-28 in the paint.
Harden has led the Rockets in scoring for 14 straight games, not including a Dec. 10 loss to San Antonio where he was sidelined with an ankle injury.
Omer Asik had 21 points and eight rebounds, and forward Patrick Patterson scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, adding nine rebounds in the game.
Harden and Asik combined to score 18 of Houston's 25 third-quarter points as the Hornets lost for the 14th time in 16 games.
Ryan Anderson scored 18 points off the bench, and Greivis Vasquez had the third double-double of his last four games with 15 points and 14 assists for New Orleans.
Just two days after hitting a season-high 16 3-pointers in a victory over Atlanta, the Rockets went cold from beyond the arc. Houston made a season-low five 3-pointers on 24 attempts (20.8 percent.)
The Rockets led 49-44 at halftime, falling short of 50 first-half points for just the second time in the last nine games. Houston entered Wednesday's game second in the league in scoring with 105.8 points per game.
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Anderson tied the game at 82 with a 3-pointer with less than seven minutes remaining in the game. Houston followed with a 10-2 run.
Chandler Parsons finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Houston.
New Orleans was without guard Eric Gordon, who had spent most of the season recovering from a knee injury before making his season debut last Saturday. Gordon scored 11 points on Tuesday night, but New Orleans coach Monty Williams rested him as a precaution and said he expected Gordon to return when the Hornets visit Dallas on Saturday.
Rookie Austin Rivers started in place of Gordon and finished with just four points and one assist in 17 minutes.
The Rockets visit Milwaukee on Friday to begin a stretch where they will play nine of their next 11 games on the road. Houston is 5-8 on the road and 13-6 at home.
NOTES: Houston announced Wednesday the signing of guard/forward James Anderson, who averaged 3.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game in 10 games this season for San Antonio. The Spurs waived Anderson on Dec. 20. To make room for Anderson, the Rockets released guard Daequan Cook.
Press; By JORDAN GODWIN]
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