James Harden looked to the Rockets bench and made it clear he had enough. The Spurs were posting him up, putting Kawhi Leonard in the post and the Rockets attempted to have Harden front Leonard when he turned to the Rockets coaches and said, “Don’t help me.”

He was referring only to that defensive tactic, but he did not stop there.

He took over, scoring 11-consecutive points to rebuild the Rockets lead before the Rockets defense down the stretch did the rest, knocking off the Spurs in San Antonio for the second time, 111-98.

Harden led the Rockets with 28, including 16 in the fourth quarter, while Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones each had 21. But a huge factor was the defense of Jeremy Lin, who held Tony Parker to six points on 3 of 11 shooting.

The Spurs made their customary third-quarter run and reduced a lead that reached 18 in the first half and was at 13 in the second half to as few as two with less than four minutes remaining before the fourth quarter. The Rockets, however, answered, with Lin and Harden combining for 10 points to send the game to the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead.

That, however, also meant that the Spurs were very much within range when the Rockets had to go to their bench. The Rockets’ second unit had not gotten stops to open the second quarter.

They didn’t stop the scores often to start the fourth, but that sort of worked out for the Rockets. That brought Harden back more quickly, with Howard and Lin soon following him. With the Spurts within five, Harden took over. He finished a drive and dropped in a pair of mid-range jumpers With five minutes left, he nailed a 3-pointer, just the second he had taken all night, and had scored 11-consecutive Rockets points, giving them a 10-point lead leading down the stretch.