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Old 02-21-2015, 11:00 PM   #1
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Brewer's 26 leads Rockets over Raptors 98-76

Corey Brewer had a season-high 26 points, James Harden scored 16 of his 20 in Houston's big third quarter, and the Rockets cruised to a 98-76 win over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.

Harden, who leads the NBA in scoring, got off to a tough start and had just four points by halftime. The Rockets led by 4 with less than four minutes left in the third before going on a 12-1 run, with seven points from Harden, to take a 68-53 lead into the fourth and end his night.

A night after handling Atlanta 105-80, the Raptors had a chance to extend their road winning streak to a franchise-record six games. Instead they were done in by 23 turnovers to snap a four-game winning streak overall and lose away from home for the first time since Jan. 21.

James Johnson's 27 points led the Raptors, who entered the game averaging 105.6 points a game but struggled with a Houston defense that tied a season-high with 17 steals and had nine blocked shots.

Brewer also had 10 rebounds and five steals for Houston and Terrence Jones added 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Toronto scored five points in a row to cut the lead to 47-44 with about seven minutes left in the third quarter. Harden had made just one of his first eight shots and was 0 of 4 on 3-pointers when he hit his first one to end Houston's scoring drought. That 3 was the first of a 9-4 run by Houston, which included a second 3 by Harden, that stretched the lead to 56-48 with five minutes left in the quarter.

The Raptors scored eight straight points early in the second quarter, thanks to two 3-pointers, to take a 26-23 lead about 10 minutes before halftime.

Houston then used a 12-1 spurt to regain a 35-27 lead midway through the quarter. Brewer led the way during that stretch, scoring six points and finding Jones on an alley-oop dunk. Brewer's two-handed slam capped the run and brought the home crowd to its feet.

The Raptors had five turnovers and Jones blocked two shots to help Houston build the lead.

Toronto finally cleaned things up and outscored Houston 9-5 the rest of the half to cut the lead to 40-36 at halftime.

Toronto led by 8 with about five minutes left in the first quarter before Josh Smith got things going for Houston. He had two 3-pointers in an 11-0 run that put the Rockets up 16-13. The Raptors were up by one point soon after that when Brewer swiped the ball from DeMar DeRozan and finished with a layup on the other end.

Houston led 20-18 entering the second quarter.

TIP-INS:

Raptors: Kyle Lowry, who played for the Rockets from 2009-12, finished with 11 points on 2 of 13 shooting. ... Saturday was the first of four straight games against the Western Conference for Toronto. The Raptors are 12-8 against the West this season.

Rockets: Saturday's game was the start of five straight games at home for Houston. ... The Rockets wore jerseys to commemorate this week's Lunar New Year.

UP NEXT:

The Raptors visit New Orleans on Monday.

The Rockets host Minnesota on Monday.



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