Houston guard James Harden has had the last laugh on his old team, leading the Rockets to a last-gasp 118-116 NBA win over Kiwi Steven Adams and the Oklahoma Thunder.

Harden was part of the trade that sent him to Houston and saw Adams land at the Thunder in 2013.

He and OKC guard Russell Westbrook, former team-mates, appear to be in a head-to-head battle for Most-Valuable-Player honours this season, but the Rockets have proven themselves the better team, compiling an impressive 28-9 record so far.

In their latest encounter, Westbrook captured personal honours, scoring 49 points that included eight three-pointers.


But Harden (26 points/12 assists) top-scored for Houston, as they withstood a strong Thunder finish down the stretch.

With time virtually up on the clock and scores tied at 116-116, Oklahoma City forward Jerami Grant fouled Houston centre Nene Hilario and the Brazilian sank both free throws to secure victory.

Adams continued his strong play with eight points, including 4/4 from the line, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in 29 minutes.

Oklahoma City have now lost three in a row, falling to 21 wins/16 losses, and next face Denver Nuggets at home on Sunday (NZ time).