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Harden has 20 points in 4th quarter, Rockets beat Suns

PHOENIX (AP) — The Houston Rockets blew an early 18-point lead and were down by one after three quarters in Phoenix.

Then, as he so often does, James Harden took over.

The NBA’s leading scorer got 20 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter and the Rockets pulled away to beat the Suns 127-118 on Tuesday night.

“He made all the tough plays for his team, like all great players do,” the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe said. “You know, he’s in the running for MVP and he should be up there.”

Josh Smith added 20 in the highest-scoring game of the season for the Rockets, who trailed 89-88 at the end of the third.

“That (game) had more twists and turns than an old country road,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said.

Eric Bledsoe scored 32, one shy of his career high, for the Suns, who enter the All-Star break losers of five of six. Bledsoe had 12 points in the fourth quarter.

Harden — who will have his number retired by Arizona State on Wednesday night — ended the first and second quarters with a 3-pointer, then opened the fourth with a four-point play that put the Rockets ahead for good. He scored eight in a row during a 2

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