Suns 119, Rockets 112
The Phoenix Suns finally got another victory at home – in their
last chance of the season.
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.
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, which went
small without a true center all night.
Dragic, who 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, called it his team’s most complete game of the
”Everybody was involved, everybody was making shots,” Dragic
said. ”(Markieff), he was amazing. He was blocking every shot
almost. On defense, we were talking and we played well. If we would
play like this earlier, for sure we would be close to the
Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter, who doesn’t know if he’ll be
back next season, liked the effort for the home finale.
”Hopefully these list couple of games is an indication of some
things that we got better at,” he said. ”We didn’t get to where
we wanted to, but I think that we got better in a lot of different
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.
”We never had any kind of control of this game at all,”
Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. ” They had control of it all
night. We made a couple of runs where we thought we would be OK. In
the second quarter, we had a couple of things where I thought we
could back in the game. We played very poorly. We had bad shot
selection, we missed some shots, they posted us up, they got
everything they wanted and we couldn’t stop them defensively.
”We are going to play a very determined L.A. team. We have to
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
”I think that has been one of our problems all season –
focus,” Lin said. ”It usually comes with a younger team. At this
point of the season, it is really not an excuse. Every game means
so much. We are talking about playoff seeding. We are talking about
matchups and things that are more important than anything we played
for all season.”
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 was worse.
”We all know it was a rough year,” Scola said, ”but I wish
the year would have 100 games left so we could turn this around.
The day we finish the year we can start thinking about next season
and I’m looking forward to that.”
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 cutting the lead to 103-101 with 6:20 to go.
But two baskets by Morris and a driving layup by Dragic made it
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
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. … 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