HARDEN LAUNCHES ROCKETS STRIKE: James, Gordon lead Houston to 125-111 win over San Antonio Suns

Dec 20, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after making a three point basket to take the lead against the San Antonio Spurs in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

A night after their 10-game winning streak came to a halt with a two-point loss at home to San Antonio, the Houston Rockets looked ready to start a new run of victories.

The Rockets went from making 38 per cent of their shots, including just six of 38 3-pointers, to a 53.5 field goal percentage and 18 made three-pointers on 38 attempts. It added up to a 125-111 win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

James Harden had 27 points and 14 assists as the Rockets earned their 11th victory in 12 games.

“It’s a good bounce-back win, back-to-back, and the guys showed some heart,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Eric Gordon added 24 points off the Rockets’ bench, shooting seven of 13 on 3s. Patrick Beverley finished with a season-high 18 points, nine assists and nine rebounds.

Harden’s biggest shot came with 4:19 left, a pull-up 3 for a 120-100 lead. He bent down and moved his arms in a swimming motion in celebration as he ran back to the bench.

“He just knows when to pick the spots and he knows what he has to do and he controls the whole game,” D’Antoni said.

Devin Booker’s 28 points led the Suns, who have lost four in a row. T.J. Warren added 19 and Brandon Knight 17.

Gordon hit back-to-back 3s midway through the fourth quarter, the second one at the 6:39 mark for a 110-95 lead.

“It’s tough to really slow us down, knocking the 3s down and also making layups,” Gordon said. “Teams just have to pick their poison against us.”

The Rockets led by as many as 13 in the third, only to see the Suns cut it to 86-84 on a tip-in by P.J. Tucker with 1:19 left. Harden drew a questionable foul call against Tucker on a 3-point try with 4.3 seconds left and made all three free throws to give Houston a 91-84 lead entering the fourth.

The Rockets led 30-26 after the first quarter, when the Suns struggled to get back in transition. Houston scored 12 fast-break points in the period.

Harden took only two shots in the quarter, but excelled as a passer, handing out seven assists.

“Stopping people in transition, it’s mostly on the defence. It’s something we have been working on in practice, but in game time, we still are not doing,” Booker said. “Obviously, James being the playmaker, he finds the open man. When they have so many shooters on the floor, it’s tough to guard.”

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
LIVERPOOL: Origi keen to impress ahead of Merseyside clash

Liverpool striker Divock Origi is taking the hectic life of an international footballer in his stride as he looks to impress manager Juergen Klopp ahead of next week’s Merseyside derby.

CRAVING FOR REMATCH: Kenyans out to revenge losses to Ugandans on Sunday

There will be no love lost when star athletes lock horns at the 42nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.

CHAIRMAN’S WORD: Omwela answers critics, Sasha blames constitution and caucuses for defeat

“I will now be visible, but I will not drink in bars with clubs,” those were the words of Richard Omwela after being re-elected as the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman.

ITALY TACKLE ALBANIA: Azzurri look to insatiable 'Rooster' Belotti

He’s known as the ‘Rooster’ with the insatiable appetite for goals, and Albania coach Gianni Di Biasi, for one, will be hoping Italy sensation Andrea Belotti goes hungry today.

Fairy-tale end for Podolski: Germany set record in win over England

Lukas Podolski admitted his Germany farewell could not have been scripted better after netting the superb winner in the 1-0 friendly win over England.

RUGBY: Omwela's bold move on Sevens players' contract

Re-elected Kenya Rugby Union chairman Richard Omwela said contracts issues of rugby Sevens players would be resolved before the April 7-9 Hong Kong tournament.

More Stories
Laiser Hill’s perfect start in Rift school games

Kajiado's Laiser Hill Academy announced their comeback to the Rift Valley region in an enviable fashion.

Kenya lands hosting rights for Fiba tourneys

Kenya has been awarded the rights to host three international basketball championships this year following a meeting in Cairo, Egypt.

Losing streak for Kenyan teams continue in Cairo

Kenyan teams continued with their losing streak at the ongoing Fiba Africa Zone V Basketball Championships in Cairo.

Uganda beat Kenya in return match

Kenya lost 62-59 to Uganda in the women’s return leg at the ongoing Fiba Africa Zone V Basketball Championships in Cairo, Egypt.

BASKETBALL: James takes charge, Irving exits

Kevin Love returned from knee surgery, but Kyrie Irving made an early exit with knee problems of his own as the Cleveland Cavaliers toppled the Utah Jazz 91-83 on Thursday.

Kenya out of Fiba tournament

Kenya national men’s basketball are headed home after losing their third Africa Zone V Basketball Championships match in Cairo, Egypt.

BASKETBALL: Aga Khan Academy retains title

Coast region boys’ basketball defending champions Aga Khan Academy successfully retained the title as their girls’ relinquished the title to new champions.

GOING GETS TOUGH FOR KENYA IN CAIRO: Basketball teams lose ties in Fiba championships

This was not the kind of outing Kenyan teams expected at the Fiba Africa Zone V Basketball Championships in Cairo, Egypt.

BASKETBALL: Nakuru Club enlist players for new season

Nakuru Basketball Club have recruited five new players for the new season that kicks off next weekend.

KENYA SEND UGANDA HOME: Women’s basketball team inches closer to Africa tourney

When Kenya's Vilma Achieng sunk the last basket with only seconds left, one could not miss the frustration in their opponents Uganda as the clock ticked fast.