Rockets escape Phoenix with comeback win
Phoenix, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Patrick Beverley scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help Houston rally from an 11-point deficit to down the Phoenix Suns, 115-112, on Sunday.
Dwight Howard added 25 points and nine rebounds and James Harden, playing with a hyperextended right elbow, scored 23 points and handed out seven assists for the Rockets, winners in nine of their last 10.
"I've played in probably the second biggest game in basketball, the Euro League Championship, fans going crazy so I'm used to a hostile environment," Beverley said. "Before I came to the NBA I had my own team so I know what James and Dwight go through. We defended and we had fun today and came out with a win."
Goran Dragic poured in a career-high 35 points on 14-of-20 shooting, Gerald Green scored 23 and Markieff Morris had 21 for the Suns, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Green split a pair of free throws 21 seconds into the fourth quarter to put the Suns up 94-83. Omri Casspi hit a 3-pointer moments later to spark a 13-4 run. Harden capped the spurt with a beautiful step-back jumper to make it 98-96 with 5:54 remaining.
After Dragic knocked down a pair of free throws, Beverley scored four straight points to tie the game. The Rockets couldn't gain the upper hand until Beverley nailed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 34.9 seconds left.
Harden drove to the lane and kicked it out to Beverley near the right corner and he calmly knocked it down from long-distance. Beverley then grabbed a rebound off a Green miss at the other end and was quickly fouled before converting the subsequent free throws.
With 14 seconds left, Dragic had Phoenix within a point after getting a layup to fall, but Donatas Motiejunas knocked a pair of free throws after he was fouled on the inbounds pass.
On the second Motiejunas free throw, Howard clearly entered the lane prior to the shot, but was not called for a lane violation.
Dragic missed a clean potential game-tying 3 at the buzzer.
The Rockets led 30-16 after 12 minutes and stretched their lead to 18 points early in the second, but a 29-8 run gave the Suns a 48-45 lead after Dragic buried a 3-pointer with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half.
"We cannot afford to start the games like that," Dragic said. "We were down 18 points and it takes a lot of energy to come back. And after that your tank is empty in the fourth quarter and because of that we lost the game."
The Rockets scored 11 straight points to take a 56-48 lead and led 60-56 at the break.
Houston led 69-65 after a pair of Harden free throws at the 8:30 mark of the third, but a 12-1 run allowed Phoenix to go up 77-70 minutes later. Phoenix held a 93-83 lead entering the final frame as Green knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Houston outscored Phoenix 64-42 in the paint and outrebounded the Suns 43-34 ... Houston was 41-for-78 from the field ... Howard finished 10-for-12 from the field and was 5-for-7 from the free throw line ... Phoenix scored 29 points off 22 Rockets turnovers ... Dragic's previous career high was 34.
02/24 00:53:58 ET