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Suns unable to sustain first quarter momentum in loss to Rockets

Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) goes up for a shot as Phoenix Suns' Frank Kaminsky (8) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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.

TIP-INS

Suns: Oubre had 19 points. … Dario Saric added 13 points and 12 rebounds. … Bridges had 14 points. … The Suns made 11-of-35 3s.

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Suns: Host Minnesota on Monday night.


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