Suns beat Rockets despite Harden's 38

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 10, 2013
Goran Dragic is the Phoenix Suns' table-setter, a guard who can score but who had also averaged 10.8 assists in nine games since the All-Star break. Dragic recorded just one assist in a 107-105 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday, but that pass was an energizer midway through the fourth quarter that put Phoenix in position to win. With 5:57 left in the fourth quarter, Dragic dived for a loose ball and got it to teammate Kendall Marshall, who banked in a long jumper as the shot clock buzzer sounded for a 93-86 lead. Dragic also scored 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter against his former team, and the Suns overcame 38 points from Rockets star James Harden and Houston's 19 3-pointers. ''They defended me well. I couldn't find the open guy. Even if I found the open guy, they were closing and contesting the shots,'' Dragic said. ''I know that I had only one assist, but that was one of the best assists ever. Kendall made a crazy shot.'' Phoenix, far out of playoff contention, has three straight wins over the postseason-hopeful Rockets and is 10-3 in the last 13 meetings. Harden brought the Rockets back with a 3-pointer with 5:25 to play, followed by a basket and free throw to make it 93-92. But Dragic made back-to-back baskets for 97-92 lead, and the Suns gave up a last-second 3 for the final margin of victory. ''We can't look at the Phoenix Suns and their roster,'' Harden said. ''We've got to go out there and compete and play hard every possession. Times like this, we need wins. We just let another one slip away from us.'' Jared Dudley scored 22 points and the Suns, missing injured starting center Marcin Gortat, got an unlikely solid contribution from reserve Hamed Haddadi. He played 28 minutes, scored six points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots, all either setting or tying season highs. ''Haddadi was a great neutralizer for us,'' Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said. The Rockets (34-30) got 21 points off the bench from Carlos Delfino and 14 from forward Chandler Parsons. ''No excuses. They played better than us,'' Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. ''Goran down the stretch made some big plays.There is a lot of stuff we didn't do. We will look at what we didn't do.'' The teams exchanged leads late in the third quarter after Harden's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:29 left gave the Rockets a 62-61 advantage. Marcus Morris dunked for a 72-69 lead at the 1:54 mark, but Harden hit another 3 with 56 seconds left for a 74-72 Houston lead. Harden scored 25 points in the second half. Michael Beasley's 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the third gave the Suns the lead going into the fourth quarter, 77-76. The Suns (22-41) used a 16-0 second-quarter run that spanned 5 minutes, 40 seconds to take a 50-46 halftime lead. During the run, Dudley gave the Suns their first lead, 37-35, with a short jumper. Back-to-back 3s by Dudley made it 45-35, and it wasn't until Parsons made a free throw for Houston with 3:17 left in the quarter that the run ended. The Rockets led by as many as eight points in the first quarter. The teams face each other three more times before the regular season ends in mid-April. NOTES: Suns center Jermaine O'Neal remains away from the team after leaving to be with his daughter, who had heart surgery earlier in the week. He missed his third straight game. Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said he's exchanged phone messages with O'Neal and that all indications are that the surgery went well. ''My prayers are with his family,'' Hunter said. ''I think family is the most important thing. ... The Suns wore their ''Los Suns'' orange jerseys and warmup tops in recognition of the NBA's ''Noche Latina,'' the league's 16-game tribute to its Latino fan base. Seven teams in large Hispanic markets are taking part. Harden got a loud applause from the crowd, as he played his college ball at nearby Arizona State University. ... Rockets guard Jeremy Lin left the game briefly with a cut lip after a third-quarter collision on which he was called for an offensive foul. He was examined by a trainer and eventually returned.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Luke Maye sends North Carolina to the Final Four with game-winning shot

Singer Darius Rucker cries as South Carolina clinches Final Four berth

Rockets take shot at Westbrook's MVP candidacy

New info shows just how much Las Vegas wants Raiders

Tomlin: Steelers are preparing for Roethlisberger's retirement

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bills reporter: 'Only a matter of time' before GM Whaley is fired

Report: Patriots, Revis have not discussed possible reunion

Video of LaVar Ball playing basketball surfaces and he doesn't look great

Reporter: Giants 'would not go near' Adrian Peterson

Report: Browns unlikely to give Josh Gordon another chance

Popovich: Owners interfering with player rest is risky

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker