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Old 12-07-2014, 01:11 AM   #1
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Ariza, Beverley lead Rockets over Suns 100-95

Trevor Ariza and Pat Beverley scored 19 points each to lead the Houston Rockets to their fourth straight win, 100-95, over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

Houston improved to 16-4 by winning for the seventh time in the nine games All-Star center Dwight Howard (knee strain) has been out.

The Rockets never trailed and led by as many as 22 points. The Suns used an 8-2 run, capped by a tip-in by PJ Tucker, to cut the lead to 97-93 with 21.9 seconds remaining.

But Beverley made three free throws after that to make it 100-93 and Houston held on for the win.

Beverley returned after missing six games with a hamstring injury, providing a spark of the bench. He didn't start as coach Kevin McHale limited him to 26 minutes.

Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 23 points.

Donatas Motiejunas continued his recent strong play by scoring 16 points with 11 rebounds for his career-best fourth straight game with at least 10 points. James Harden had 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Houston.

Gerald Green added 16 points for the Suns and Tucker had 15.

Phoenix used an 11-2 run get within 92-85 with about 3 ½ minutes remaining. Beverley scored Houston's first field goal in more than 7 minutes with a 3-pointer about a minute later.

The Suns cut the lead to nine points early in the fourth quarter before Houston scored six straight points, powered by a 3-pointer by Beverley, to make it 86-71. Harden sat out for the first five minutes of the quarter to stretch his back after falling hard to the court on a 3-point attempt at the end of the third.

Jason Terry made a 3-pointer to extend the Rockets' lead to 63-41 early in the third quarter. The Suns took advantage of four turnovers by Houston to score the next eight points and get within 63-49. Bledsoe made the last five points of that run.

Terry gave Houston its first points in almost five minutes with a jump shot midway through the quarter and Beverley made a 3-pointer after a tip-in by Tucker to make it 68-51.

A 3-pointer by Alex Len cut the lead to 80-67 at the end of the third quarter.

Houston led by 17 after one and used a 6-2 run to push the lead to 41-20 with 9 1/2 to go in the second quarter.

Green scored four quick points to start an 11-2 spurt which got the Suns within 43-31 midway through the quarter. The Rockets scored seven straight points soon after that to pad the lead and were up 60-41 at halftime.

The Rockets got off to a hot start, shooting 63.6 percent in the first quarter to just under 29 percent for Phoenix, to take a 35-18 lead into the second quarter. Markieff Morris had the toughest time in that period, going 0 for 7.

Beverley got a big ovation from the home crowd when he entered the game with about five minutes left in the first quarter.


Suns: G Isaiah Thomas missed his sixth straight game with a right ankle injury. Coach Jeff Hornacek said he's feeling better and that he could return on Monday. ... Saturday was the first time in four games that Goran Dragic hasn't led the team in scoring. He had 13 points on Saturday.

Rockets: McHale said that Howard along with G Isaiah Canaan (ankle sprain), F Terrence Jones (left leg nerve inflammation) and F Kostas Papanikolaou (knee strain) won't be coming back "anytime soon."... Francisco Garcia left the game in the first half with a sore right leg and didn't return.


Suns: At Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Rockets: At Golden State on Wednesday.

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