The Houston Rockets were able to snap a brief losing skid their last time out, but they're hardly satisfied.
They'll again try to shore up several issues and send the 76ers to a fifth loss in six games Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
After dropping back-to-back contests to open a three-game homestand, the Rockets (5-3) bounced back with a 110-104 double-overtime victory over Toronto on Monday.
"We can't lose three in a row at home," said James Harden, who had 26 points and 10 assists. "We are too much of a good team to lose three games. We did whatever it took to pull it out."
The Rockets turned the ball over 23 times and coughed up a 17-point, third-quarter lead, Harden had another subpar shooting performance and Howard's free-throw woes nearly cost Houston again.
Harden was 7 of 19 from the floor and Howard missed all four of his free throws in the final 3:11 of regulation and finished 4 of 12 from the line.
Harden is shooting 34.5 percent in his last three games and Howard is 14 of 39 (35.9 percent) from the line in the last three.
However, the defense might be the team's biggest concern. Since giving up an average of 93.7 points in starting 3-0, the Rockets are allowing 109.6 per game - one of the worst marks in the league since Nov. 4.
Houston started strong defensively against the Raptors before letting them score 50 points in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
"They only had 33 points at the half, but in the second half, we let up," Harden said. "We have to battle it out and fight it out."
The 76ers (4-4) are having their own problems defensively.
Philadelphia's 107.1 points allowed per game is one of the NBA's worst marks and it's letting teams shoot 40.7 percent from beyond the arc. Its 3-point defense might not be tested much, however, given the Rockets are hitting 27.0 percent of their 3s over the last five games. Harden has made 9 of 38 (23.7 percent) of his 3-pointers in that span.
The 76ers are struggling after a surprising 3-0 start and are coming off a 109-85 loss to San Antonio on Monday in coach Brett Brown's first game against his former team. Philadelphia fell behind 31-13 after one quarter, and rookie Michael Carter-Williams had a season-low eight points on 2-for-11 shooting.
Brown hopes to use the lopsided loss as a learning experience and wanted his team to take note of how the Spurs operated.
"The biggest thing we take away is their unselfishness on both sides of the ball," center Spencer Hawes said. "They sell out defensively and they're excited about making that extra pass on offense. We run the same offense. You look at the way they did it and say: 'That's how it's supposed to be.'"
The 76ers split two meetings with the Rockets last season, with each team winning at home. Houston has lost four of five in Philadelphia.
Harden totaled 62 points on 54.8 percent shooting and made 24 of 26 foul shots against the 76ers last season, while Howard had 24 points and 25 rebounds in two games versus Philadelphia with the Los Angeles Lakers.