The Pistons led 85-77 with 9:37 left in the fourth quarter before the Rockets ended the game on a 28-11 run for the come-from-behind victory. The Rockets outscored the Pistons, 33-15, in the fourth quarter.
Harden had 37 points, six rebounds and 12 assists on 14-of-25 shooting from the field, including 4-of-10 from three-point territory, in his first game as a member of the Houston Rockets.
Jeremy Lin added 12 points, eight assists and four steals for the Rockets.
The Pistons were led in scoring by Brandon Knight, who had 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field. Rodney Stuckey had nine points in the game but was 1-of-9 from the field.
Pistons rookie Andre Drummond had two points, two rebounds and one block in just under 13 minutes in his NBA regular-season debut. Rookie Kyle Singler had 10 points off the bench for Detroit.