NEW YORK — It took almost the whole game, but the Rockets finally took a lead and held it.
Trevor Ariza's tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:14 left in overtime and Marcus Thornton's two free throws with less than a second left lifted Houston to a 116-111 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday night.
James Harden led Houston with 26 points. Thornton and Clint Capela each had 18 and Ariza finished with 16.
Arron Afflalo had 31 points for the Knicks, who played without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony because of an illness. Kristaps Porzingis added 20 points and 13 rebounds.
The Rockets, after scoring the first four points of the game, didn't lead again until overtime.
"It was a lesson in perseverance," said interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff. "We got down, but we didn't give in. It is a credit to our guys' mental toughness and fortitude."
Langston Galloway and Jose Calderon each missed potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final minute of overtime.
"I think the shots we got at the end were good shots," Galloway said. "I thought I had a good look, but it was just a little short."
The Rockets erased a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit and tied the game on Thornton's 3-pointer with 32 seconds left.
Lance Thomas missed a long jumper for the Knicks and Harden did the same for the Rockets and the game remained tied at 101 after regulation.
"We fought. It wasn't an easy game," Harden said. "Guys had confidence in their shots and knocked them down. "
Houston went ahead 108-103 in the extra session, with Dwight Howard slamming down a lob pass over Porzingis, but the Knicks tied it at 111 on Galloway's short jumper with 1:31 left before Ariza hit from behind the arc.
The Knicks led by 15 late in the first half and were still ahead 91-77 on Derrick Williams' 3-pointer with 8:04 left in the fourth quarter.
"The momentum of the game changed," Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. "NBA games are long and we had some untimely turnovers. They really started to attack us in transition and we couldn't stop that in the fourth quarter."
The Knicks committed 21 turnovers in the game, eight in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Howard added 14 points and Capela had 11 rebounds for the Rockets.
Thomas finished with 15 points, Kevin Seraphin had 14 and Williams added 12 for the Knicks.
Capela recorded his third double-double in the last four games, including a career-high 18 points.
HARD ON HARDEN
The Knicks held Harden to 10-for-28 shooting from the field. He had averaged 36.2 points in his previous five games.
Porzingis has recorded eight double-doubles in the first 18 games of his rookie season.
Rockets: The Rockets have seven wins this season, none by more than six points. They've scored at least 108 points in each win, with three coming in overtime. .. The Rockets, who have won six straight games at Madison Square Garden, are now 3-3 under Bickerstaff, who took over prior to Houston's game with Portland on November 18.
Knicks: The Knicks' four-game losing streak is their longest this season. It's the most they've lost consecutively since dropping nine straight from March 19-April 3 last season. ... The Knicks have lost 12 of their last 13 to the Rockets.
Rockets: Visit Detroit on Monday.
Knicks: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday.