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Home dog Suns nip Rockets, 107-105

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PHOENIX (AP) - Goran Dragic scored 13 of his 18 points and delivered a key hustle play in the fourth quarter to help the Phoenix Suns beat the Houston Rockets 107-105 on Saturday night.

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The Suns overcame 38 points from Rockets star James Harden. Phoenix, far out of playoff contention, has three straight wins over the postseason-hopeful Rockets and is 10-3 in the last 13 meetings.

Jared Dudley led the Suns with 22 points. The Rockets got 21 points off the bench from Carlos Delfino.

The turning point for the Suns came with 5:57 left in the fourth quarter when 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.

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 layups for 97-92 lead.

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.

Michael Beasley's 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the third gave the Suns the lead going into the fourth quarter, 77-76.

Harden scored 25 points in the second half.

The Suns 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 Chandler 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 after Delfino hit a 3-pointer and followed it up with a layup off a steal. But the Suns cut the lead to 28-24 after the first 12 minutes.

NOTES: Suns forward 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 being a third-quarter collision on which he was called for an offensive foul. He was examined by a trainer and later returned.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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