Harden pulled off the ankle-breaking handles in a 105-92 win against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. He dribbled down the court with 1:22 to go in the first quarter. Johnson stepped up to the MVP candidate as he approached the 3-point line.
The Rockets' point guard did a between-the-legs dribble, before quickly stepping back. Johnson went flying backwards, before his ankles gave out and he fell on the court. Harden could have taken a shot immediately after the move, but he paused instead. He took his shooting hand off the ball and waited a few seconds for Johnson to stand up before draining a 3-pointer.
"I was just trying to figure out what he was doing," Harden told reporters after the game. "I was going to shoot it, but I was waiting to see, to figure out what was going on. I was confused. It was like the ref called side out of bounds or something like that."
The six-time All-Star had 17 points in the first frame.
Harden scored 25 points and had seven assists, three rebounds, two assists and a block in the victory. Johnson did not score, but pulled down one rebound in the loss.
Houston has now won 14 consecutive games and went 12-0 in February.