Harden is in the midst of a record 30-point scoring streak, reaching that mark for 32 straight games. During the streak, he scored 44 points and hit the game-winner against the Warriors back on January 3.
Coach Mike D’Antoni said the reigning MVP and league scoring leader probably could have played through that. Harden hurt the neck when he got hit during a practice leading up to Thursday night’s road loss to the Lakers and woke up sore the next day.
“He might’ve played even with a sore neck, he had a little touch of the flu. It was a combination of everything,” D’Antoni said.
Harden, who missed three games in the season’s first month with a strained left hamstring, is averaging an NBA-best 36.5 points, the league's highest mark since Michael Jordan's 37.1 ppg in 1986-87. Houston entered Saturday’s game 1-2 in games without him.
Also Saturday, Harden was fined $25,000 by the NBA for criticizing the officiating after the loss to the Lakers.
Information from the Associated Press has been used in this report.