Rockets 111, Suns 81

A night of reminders from Houston’s recent past ended with a big

win for the Rockets.

Donatas Motiejunas scored a career-high 19 points to lead five

Houston starters in double figures and the Rockets routed the

Phoenix Suns 111-81 on Wednesday night.

James Harden scored 18 and Omer Asik had 14 for the Rockets, who

stayed in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference standings.

Luis Scola had four points and four rebounds for Phoenix in his

first game in Houston since the Rockets designated him as their

amnesty cut last summer. And point guard Aaron Brooks got his first

action since returning to the Rockets after Sacramento waived him

on March 1.

”He took some of my little cheers, man,” Brooks said. ”I wish

he could’ve come back another time.”

Goran Dragic, another former Rocket, had 11 points and four

assists for the Suns. Dragic signed a four-year, $30 million

contract with Phoenix in the offseason after averaging 11.7 points

and 5.3 assists in 66 games for Houston in 2011-12.

It was also the first game for Marcus Morris here since the

Rockets traded him to Phoenix just before the deadline. Morris had

five points and a blocked shot.

But Scola had the spotlight, drawing loud cheers when he was

introduced and waving to acknowledge a standing ovation after a

video tribute played on the giant scoreboard.

”I didn’t really have a good angle, but it was really

touching,” said Scola, who played five seasons in Houston before

signing with the Suns last July. ”It was emotional to come here. I

was really proud to be a part of the Rockets for those five

years.”

As for the game’s outcome, Houston took care of that by

outscoring the Suns 32-17 in the third quarter.

The Rockets led 58-45 at halftime, then continued to find room

inside after the break. Chandler Parsons blocked a shot and then

finished a fast break with a layup. Scola fouled him at the rim and

Parsons sank the free throw to stretch Houston’s lead to 17.

Houston finished with 26 assists on 39 field goals.

”We were moving the ball, sharing the ball,” said Houston

point guard Jeremy Lin, who had 13 points and six assists. ”You

could look across (the statistics) and see we had great

distribution among the scoring. That’s usually a great sign of

transition buckets, as well as sharing the ball offensively.”

Parsons had one of the highlights of the night when he slammed

home Harden’s alley-oop feed for a 76-56 lead with 5:46 still left

in the third quarter. Harden found Greg Smith open underneath for

another easy dunk three minutes later as Houston pulled away.

Motiejunas drove past Michael Beasley for a hook shot to set a new

career high in the last minute of the quarter.

”It’s not really important for me, my career high,” Motiejunas

said. ”I’m thinking more about team victories.”

Wesley Johnson scored 10 of his 15 points in the first quarter

for the Suns, who lost to Houston for just the fourth time in the

last 14 meetings. The Suns mustered only 36 points in the second

half.

”That’s probably the first time I felt we didn’t compete as a

unit and that is just unacceptable,” Suns coach Lindsey Hunter

said. ”It’s embarrassing.”

Houston had all five starters in double figures for the 11th

time this season.

Phoenix led 43-38 when the Rockets launched a 15-0 run, finished

by Asik’s dunk, for a 53-43 lead. Markieff Morris scored inside at

the other end to end a four-minute scoring drought for the Suns.

Harden scored on a drive and sank a 3-pointer to put Houston up

58-45 at the break. Harden and Lin had 24 points together in the

first half.

The game in hand midway through the fourth quarter, the crowd

started chanting for Brooks, a first-round pick by Houston in 2007.

He checked into the game with 5:02 remaining and prompted one of

the loudest cheers of the night when he sank a 3-pointer.

”It felt good to be back,” Brooks said, ”it felt good to be

loved again.”

Notes: Suns C Jermaine O’Neal played after missing four games to

be with his daughter, who had successful heart surgery earlier this

week. … Dragic had three steals and now has at least one steal in

50 of 63 games this season. … The Rockets went 10-for-21 from

3-point range and have hit at least 10 3-pointers in 39 games this

season. … Asik started after he was listed as a ”game-time”

decision with a groin injury.