Harden leads Rockets to 113-102 victory over Suns
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 27 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets to a 113-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
Harden fell two assists shy of his third triple-double of the season. The Rockets beat the Suns for the 14th time in their past 16 meetings, including seven straight.
Houston led 60-53 at halftime and outscored the Suns 32-24 in the third quarter to provide enough of a lead to hand Phoenix a fourth straight loss.
Rockets forward Trevor Ariza injured his left leg early in the first quarter after colliding under the basket with Marquese Chriss on a dunk attempt and landing awkwardly. Ariza was slow to get up, made both free throws and then, after jogging down the court in apparent pain, committed a foul to stop play and check himself out of the game to head to the locker room.
Houston had another scary moment late in the fourth quarter when Harden was slow to shake off an apparent leg injury sustained during a jump-ball tangle with Josh Jackson. Harden, who missed seven games earlier this month with a hamstring strain, finished the game.
Devin Booker had 31 points and 10 assists for Phoenix, shooting 5 for 9 from beyond the arc. He scored 21 points in the second half to keep the Suns close.
T.J. Warren added 24 points for the Suns.
Phoenix center Tyson Chandler returned to action after missing two of the three previous games due to illness. Chandler had 11 points and 15 rebounds in 30 minutes, picking up his first double-double of 2018. His last double-double came on Dec. 31 in a 123-110 loss to Philadelphia.
Suns center Greg Monroe was ejected late in the third quarter after picking up two technical fouls for arguing with an official following an offensive foul called on him. Monroe was given the first technical and appeared to continue talking to the official while the teams were walking to the other end of the court.
It was the second straight game a Suns player was ejected. Booker was tossed in a loss to the Knicks on Friday.
Chris Paul added 17 points and five assists for Houston, making all nine free throws.
Suns: Phoenix center Alex Len missed his second straight game with an ankle injury and will be a game-time decision for Monday night’s game in Memphis. In his place, Dragan Bender played 25 minutes off the bench, getting five points and four rebounds.
Rockets: Luc Mbah a Moute had 13 points in 32 minutes off the bench. Mbah a Moute, usually known for his versatile defense, has scored in double figures in three of his past four games. Houston is 9-1 when Mbah a Moute scores in double figures.
Suns: Visit Memphis on Monday night for their third game in four days.
Rockets: Host Orlando on Tuesday night.
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