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Suns shut down Rockets in Houston

Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Eric Bledsoe had 20 points and seven assists to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 97-88 victory over the cold-shooting Houston Rockets at Toyota Center.

Goran Dragic added 19 points and P.J. Tucker scored 18 as the Suns halted a two-game skid and dealt the Rockets their first defeat at home since Nov. 9.

Playing without a pair of key players in Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik, Houston managed a meager .352 field goal percentage and was held to its lowest scoring output of the season. Top weapon James Harden went 3-for-17 from the floor and 0-for-10 from 3-point range while mustering 14 points.

Dwight Howard posted 15 points and 18 rebounds for the Rockets, who had won six in a row at the Toyota Center. Aaron Brooks finished with 17 points and six assists.

The shorthanded Rockets shot a woeful 29.6 percent during the opening quarter and trailed 25-20 at period's end, and their offensive struggles extended into the second as Phoenix began to increase its margin.

Bledsoe and Tucker netted five points each during a 14-4 push that sent the Suns in front by double digits, with the latter's 3-pointer with 3:09 left in the half putting Houston at a 47-34 deficit. Phoenix led by 14 before Harden was fouled shooting from beyond the arc and hit all three free throws to pull the Rockets within 51-40.

Houston went just 14-of-47 on field goal attempts over the initial two quarters.

The Rockets were able to make some headway in the third quarter, using an 11-2 spurt capped by a Patrick Beverley three to cut the lead to 55-51 near the midway mark of the frame. The differential was just two around four minutes afterward, when Francisco Garcia's triple pulled Houston within 63-61.

Phoenix closed out the quarter on a 10-0 surge, however, with Channing Frye and Tucker draining 3-pointers to begin the flurry, to build a 73-61 lead entering the fourth.

Houston again kept coming, though, outscoring the Suns by a 13-2 spread to open the period and closing the gap to 75-74 on a Brooks three with 7:09 left.

The Suns responded by scoring the next 13 points to pull away, with Marcus Morris providing the dagger with a beyond-the-arc basket that made the score 88-74 with three minutes remaining.

Game Notes

The Rockets had eclipsed the 100-point mark in 11 of their last 12 games, with their 93-86 win at Memphis on Nov. 25 the club's previous season low for points ... Parsons missed his second straight game with back spasms, while Asik is expected to sit out a week with a bruised right thigh sustained Monday at Utah ... Tucker ended 8-of-13 from the field ... The Rockets' bench outscored the Suns' reserves by a 31-22 margin, with Omri Casspi adding 14 points to Brooks' 17.

12/04 23:22:55 ET

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