Houston overcame a career-high eight 3-pointers from Hawks rookie Trae Young, who put up 36 points.
Harden returned after missing Saturday’s win over Golden State with a neck injury. His run of games with 30 or more points was the second-longest in NBA history behind a 65-game streak by Wilt Chamberlain.
Harden, who said he was still bothered by the neck problem Monday morning, missed all 10 3-pointers he attempted. He got to 28 points with 23.3 seconds left and had the ball on Houston’s last possession but did not attempt a shot from half court with the game in hand.
James Harden 30 point streak ends and he last came up short of 30 points in a Dec. 11 win over Portland, when he had 29. During the streak, he scored 50 or more points four times, including a career-high 61 in a win at the Knicks on Jan. 23.
Chris Paul added 20 points, and Eric Gordon hit four 3-pointers for 16 points.
The Hawks cut the lead to five on a basket by John Collins with about 2 1/2 minutes remaining. Harden missed his 10th 3-pointer seconds after that, but Harden was fouled on a 3-pointer on the next possession and made all of the free throws to make it 115-107.
Atlanta scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, with five points including a long 3-pointer from Young, to cut the lead to one. P.J. Tucker got the Rockets going again when he made a 3-pointer to make it 98-94 with 8 1/2 minutes remaining.
Young’s hot shooting continued after that when he made his seventh 3 to cut the lead to one again.
Harden made four quick points later in the quarter, but Young was at it again after that, sinking his eighth 3-pointer to cut the lead to 107-102 with about five minutes left.
Vince Carter got the Hawks within one with a 3-pointer later in the third quarter before Houston scored five quick points, capped by a basket from Harden to make it 82-76 with about four minutes left in the third.
Alex Len added a 3 for Atlanta after that but the Rockets padded the lead to 90-79 with an 8-0 run.
The Hawks got within seven late in the third, but Paul made a shot while being foul and completed the 3-point play to leave Houston up 95-85 entering the fourth.
Hawks: Collins had 20 points. … Kevin Huerter had seven points in his return after missing the last two games with a sprained left ankle. … Carter received a flagrant 1 foul in the third quarter when he knocked Austin Rivers to the court on a fast break.
Rockets: It was Paul’s third straight 20-point game. … Iman Shumpert returned after missing the last two games with a sore right knee. … Kenneth Faried had 13 points and has scored at least 10 points in all 15 games as a Rocket, which is the longest streak of his career.