Final Score: Houston 107, New Orleans 98
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard led all five Houston starters in double figures with 24 points and 18 rebounds in the Rockets' 107-98 win over the New Orleans Pelicans from Toyota Center.
The Rockets trailed 94-91 when Jeremy Lin drilled a 3 to tie the score with 3:39 remaining. James Harden followed with a triple of his own, and Houston held the Pelicans scoreless in the final 1:52 of the contest to pull away.
"That's what I'm here for," said Harden. "To be a play-maker, to finish games off. Take the big shots and make them."
Harden scored 21 points while Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones tallied 19 and 17, respectively, as the Rockets won their third straight. Lin added 10 points with a team-high five assists.
Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis each registered double-doubles in the setback. Anderson netted 22 points and 12 rebounds while Davis went for 18 and 16. Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday each had nine assists.
"We don't want to be close, we want to get there," said Evans. "We have the talent to get there. Its kind of tough to take these losses. We all wanted to win."
Evans had the Pelicans in front early, 20-18, before Parsons' three-point play sparked a 13-0 Houston run, which Evans finally put an end to with a running bank shot late in the period.
Houston never trailed in the second but lost its lead after Anderson's trey followed Alexis Ajinca's only bucket for a 52-52 halftime spread.
Both teams enjoyed four point leads during a balanced third period. A brief 5-0 Rockets run capped the frame with the hosts in front 74-73.
They held the lead until Austin Rivers sank one of his two triples midway through the fourth for a one-point New Orleans advantage. Davis made it 94-91 before the Rockets pulled away late.
Houston shot just 6-of-26 from the arc, while New Orleans made 10-of-22 ... Houston took 32 free throws to just eight for the Pelicans ... The Rockets outscored New Orleans 58-40 in the paint and 14-4 in transition.
12/29 00:07:18 ET
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