Rockets can’t catch the Suns in close loss
PHOENIX (AP) — Luis Scola had 26 points and 15 rebounds, Goran Dragic added 21 points and 14 assists and Phoenix snapped a franchise-record seven-game home losing streak with a 119-112 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night in the Suns’ final home game of the season.
Markieff Morris had 20 points and had career highs of six blocked shots and five steals for the Suns, who despite the victory finished with the second-worst home record in club history. P.J. Tucker added 21 points for the balanced Phoenix offense.
Dragic played part of the third and all of the fourth quarter with a bandage over his left eye after a cut that required three stitches.
Carlos Delfino points scored 22, including 6 of 9-3-pointers, and Jeremy Lin 20 for the Rockets, who fell a game behind Golden State for the No. 6 playoff spot in the West. The Rockets are a game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 7 spot. Houston finishes its regular season at the Lakers on Wednesday night.
James Harden managed just 15 points on 5-for-18 shooting, 0 for 7 from 3-point range. That’s 10.5 points below his season average.
Despite the victory, Phoenix finished with its second-worst home record in franchise history at 17-24. With one game to go, the Suns are 25-56 and guaranteed the second-worst record in team history. Only the 16-66 inaugural season of 1968-69 were worse.
Houston never caught the Suns in the second half, cutting it to 75-71 on Omer Asik’s dunk with 8:03 left in the third.
Phoenix had its highest-scoring quarter of a season with 39 in the first and their highest-scoring half in building a 67-61 lead at the break. The Suns stretched it to as much as a 12-point lead late in the third and were up 90-83 entering the fourth.
Houston kept it to single digits most of the fourth with Patrick Beverley’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 103-101 with 6:20 to go. But two baskets by Markieff Morris and a driving layup by Dragic made it 109-101.
The Rockets never got closer than five again.
Dragic scored six and Wesley Johnson five in a 13-2 run that put the Suns up 35-23 with 1:47 left in the first.
But with Harden on the bench, the Rockets rallied in the second quarter with a 7-0 spurt. Delfino sank a 3, then James Anderson dunked and Greg Smith scored inside, putting Houston up 52-50 with 6:05 left in the half.
Phoenix regained the lead 56-55 on a fastbreak basket by Jared Dudley, after a behind-the-back assist from Dragic, 2:51 before halftime. It was part of a 15-2 outburst that made it 65-57 on Tucker’s layup.
NOTES: There was a moment of silence before the games in honor of the victims of Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon. The Suns had announced there would be an increased security presence, but it wasn’t noticeable. … The Suns will root for the Rockets to beat the Lakers on Wednesday and Utah to beat Memphis. Then, the Lakers would miss the playoffs and Phoenix would get their first-round draft pick. … Phoenix shot 62 percent in the first quarter (16 for 26). … Phoenix’s previous highest-scoring half was 64, first against Charlotte and matched against Golden State.