Harden changes everything for young Rockets
The Rockets are back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season. Houston will face Oklahoma City, Harden's former team, in the first round beginning Sunday.
Houston had the No. 6 seed within reach after clinching a berth last week, but losses in three of its last four games dropped the Rockets to No. 8.
Harden came to Houston in a stunning trade with the Thunder and then lit up his old team for a career-high 46 points on Feb. 20. Oklahoma City won two of three matchups in the regular season.