Rockets 104, Suns 97
Mar. 03, 2002
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PHOENIX (AP) _ Walt Williams, activated from the injured list hours before the game, had 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Houston Rockets beat the Phoenix Suns 104-97 Saturday night.
Cuttino Mobley had 24 points and eight rebounds, and Kenny Thomas added 22 points and had 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who won for only the second time in their last five road games.
Eddie Griffin added 12 points.
Shawn Marion scored 24 points for the Suns. Penny Hardaway, playing 36 minutes in a reserve role, had 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and Stephon Marbury had 21 points and 10 assists.
No more than six points separated the teams until Thomas dunked off an assist from Moochie Norris with 7:35 left in the fourth quarter, opening an 87-80 lead.
It was the first of three consecutive baskets by Thomas during an 11-6 surge capped by Williams' fourth 3-pointer. That gave the Rockets a 96-86 lead with 4:20 to go.
But the Suns rallied one last time in a game that saw 11 lead changes and 13 ties.
In a 1:52 span, Marbury made a layup, Marion dunked and Milt Palacio had a three-point play. That cut Houston's lead to 96-93 with 1:30 to play.
After a timeout, Mobley wound up with the ball and was fouled by Palacio while sinking a layup 10 seconds later. Mobley missed the free throw, but the Suns got a lane violation, and he made the next one to open a six-point lead.
In the next minute, Marbury blew a layup and Marion blew a tip-in, and Steve Francis came up with the ball. The Rockets didn't score, but Francis got a defensive rebound with 33 seconds to go, and was fouled three seconds later, making one for a 100-93 lead.
Phoenix had a 58-53 lead in the third quarter after two free throws by Joe Johnson.
Mobley scored five points as the Rockets caught up at 58, and he sent Houston to a 67-65 lead with a 15-footer with 5:05 left in the period.
Tied 75-75 starting the fourth, Phoenix led by two points twice on a basket and two free throws by Marbury, but the Rockets got the lead for good _ 80-79 _ on a 3-pointer by Williams 1:49 into the final quarter.
Notes: Williams scored Houston's first 10 points of the fourth. ... To make roster room for Williams, the Rockets placed G Oscar Torres on the injured list with a right ankle sprain. ... The Rockets are 7-20 away from Houston. ... Marbury is averaging 29.0 points over the last five games.