Anthony Davis, who is locked in a public dispute over his future with the Pelicans, sat out his fifth straight game with a sprained left index finger.
Harden made it 24 games in a row in which he has scored more than 30 points, this time hooping up 37 for Houston.
Elsewhere Rudy Gay beat the buzzer to lift the San Antonio Spurs 126-124 over the Phoenix Suns.
Gay's 21ft feat capped off his scoring at 16, while LaMarcus Aldridge posted 29 and Davis Bertans 18.
Devin Booker racked up 30 points for Phoenix, while Jamal Crawford added 22.
Elsewhere the Washington Wizards lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-113, the Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Detroit Pistons 115-105 and Oklahoma City Thunder overcame Orlando Magic 126-117.
The Chicago Bulls lost to the Brooklyn Nets 122-117 and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 121-105.