Suns unable to sustain first quarter momentum in loss to Rockets
HOUSTON — James Harden scored 18 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and Ben McLemore added 27 points to help the Houston Rockets outlast the Phoenix Suns 115-109 on Saturday night.
Harden had a tough shooting night through three quarters and was 5-of-19 overall and 1-of-10 on 3s with 16 points before getting going in the fourth. The game was tied with about seven minutes left, and he scored all of Houston’s points in a 13-6 run that made it 102-95.
Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for his third straight triple-double and sixth this season. Harden finished 8-of-27, 3-of-17 on 3s and made 15-of-18 free throws.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 35 points after scoring a season-high 44 in an overtime victory at New Orleans on Thursday night.
The Suns cut the lead to five twice in the last 90 seconds, but both times Westbrook made a layup to extend the advantage. And the second time he was fouled on the shot and made the free throw to make it 114-106.
The Suns scored seven straight points, capped by a dunk from Kelly Oubre, to tie it at 85 with about 9 minutes left. After a timeout, Harden scored Houston’s first points in about three minutes on a layup to put Houston back on top.
It was tied again before Harden scored five points to give the Rockets a 94-89 lead. He stole the ball from Ty Jerome after that and was fouled by Booker on a drive, with Harden aggressively continuing forward and pushing Booker off the court. Harden later shoved Booker, and they both received technical fouls, to the bewilderment of the Suns.
Suns: Oubre had 19 points. … Dario Saric added 13 points and 12 rebounds. … Bridges had 14 points. … The Suns made 11-of-35 3s.
Suns: Host Minnesota on Monday night.