James Harden leads Rockets past free-falling Suns, 116-100Posted: Updated:
Trevor Ariza added 25 points and six rebounds, and Patrick Beverley had 18 points and six rebounds for the Rockets. The Suns have lost 10 straight, their longest losing streak of the season, and 25 of their last 27.
Houston led by 25 points in the third quarter after taking control in the first half. The Rockets had lost three straight games by double figures leading into the break.
Jon Leuer, who started at forward in place of Morris, scored seven of his 16 points and blocked two shots in the first quarter to help the Suns take at 24-21 lead into the second. Teletovic hit two 3-pointers in the opening 12 minutes.
The Rockets broke out in the second quarter, taking a 37-36 lead on Dwight Howard's dunk off a lob from Harden with 4:34 left. Houston went on an 11-0 run to go up 56-41, with Ariza and Beverley hitting 3-pointers and Harden making three free throws.
The Rockets built on their lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Suns 15-4 over the first 4 minutes. Suns rookie Devin Booker drew his first career technical foul during the stretch, the young scorer struggling through a 3-for-11 shooting night against aggressive defense.
The Rockets have won seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams.
HOWARD HAS SOME FUN
Howard, still a Rocket after the trade deadline passed, was playful during the game. Kept from checking in by official Justin VanDuyne during a first-quarter stoppage, he smiled and feigned a kick to the backside of VanDuyne, who was looking the other way. Later, Howard shouted two Suns players' names while frantically waving his arms as they tried to inbound the ball.
Newly acquired big man Kris Humphries made the most of his Suns debut a day after arriving in the Morris deal from Washington. Aside from some solid defense on Howard, Humphries finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, becoming the 13th Suns player to have a double-double in his debut. He got extended minutes because of center Tyson Chandler's shoulder injury.
Suns: Chandler grabbed his right shoulder and winced in pain after a collision with 6:32 left in the second quarter. He left with what was later announced as a strain and did not return. ... C-F DeJuan Blair, also picked up in the trade with the Wizards, was inactive. ... G Ronnie Price was active for the first time since toe surgery on Jan. 15 and played 23 minutes. He didn't score and was called a technical foul. ... C Alex Len did not play due to a right ankle sprain.
Rockets: At Utah Tuesday night.
Suns: Host San Antonio on Sunday.