Harden’s 28 help Rockets rally for 99-90 victory
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 28 points and the Houston Rockets overcame a big early deficit to beat the Miami Heat 99-90 on Monday night.
Miami led by double digits before halftime, but the game stayed close throughout most of the second half. It was tied with about three minutes left when Harden hit a 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired. That was the start of a 7-2 run that made it 95-90 with 38 seconds left.
James Johnson missed a 3-pointer on the other end, but Miami’s Hassan Whiteside grabbed the rebound. Harden blocked his layup, and Houston added a dunk by Clint Capela with 18 seconds left.
Whiteside led the Heat with 22 points and 13 rebounds. The team was missing Goran Dragic for the second straight game because of a bruised left knee.
Houston was at full strength for the first time in a while with Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green back after serving two-game suspensions for an altercation with the Clippers. Ariza had three points and five rebounds in 29 minutes, but Green did not play.
Chris Paul added 16 points as Houston won its third straight, and Eric Gordon had 16, too, despite continuing to struggle from long range. Gordon ranks fourth in the NBA with 136 3-pointers this season, but has gone a combined 0 for 16 the last two games.
Houston led by 3 entering the fourth, and the teams exchanged leads several times in the first few minutes of the quarter.
The Rockets led by a basket after a 3-pointer by Paul with about eight minutes left before Miami scored the next four points to go up 83-81. Houston then used a 5-1 spurt, with a 3 from P.J. Tucker and a dunk from Capela, to make it 86-84 with about five minutes left.
After ending Golden State’s 14-game road winning streak with a victory in their last game, the Rockets looked sluggish early in this one and trailed by 14 during the first quarter. The Heat got a boost in the first quarter from Whiteside, who scored 14 points. The Rockets got going late in the first quarter and had cut the deficit to 50-46 by halftime.
Heat: Jones had three blocks. … Josh Richardson finished with 12 points. … Miami made 7 of 30 3-pointers.
Rockets: Capela had 14 points with eight rebounds. … Paul had six assists and five rebounds.
HAWKS 104, JAZZ 90
ATLANTA (AP) — Dennis Schroder scored 20 points, Taurean Prince added 17 and the Atlanta Hawks kept up their improving play with a 104-90 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
The Hawks began to pull away late in the third quarter, closing with a 13-3 run for a 74-63 lead that was their largest to that point. Dewayne Dedmon knocked down a 3-pointer, Malcolm Delaney converted a four-point play and Schroder scored off a couple of drives.
It got totally out of hand at the start of the fourth.
The Jazz missed their first five shots and the Hawks put the game out of reach with a 10-0 spurt that included a three-point play from rookie John Collins and Kent Bazemore’s jumper beyond the arc.
Atlanta led by as many as 26 in the final period.
Bazemore and Marco Belinelli had 11 points apiece for Atlanta, which knocked down 12 of 26 from 3-point range. The Jazz, on the other hand, made only 4 of 15 from outside the stripe.
Alec Burks came off the bench to lead the Jazz with 17 points. Utah’s starters combined for just 40 points, led by Donovan Mitchell with 13.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kemba Walker had 26 points, Jeremy Lamb added 18 and the Charlotte Hornets bounced back from a tough loss to beat the Sacramento Kings 112-107 on Monday night.
Nic Batum and Marvin Williams each had 14 points and Dwight Howard added 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Hornets, who have won six of their last nine.
The Hornets were coming off an emotionally crushing 106-105 loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday night in which they surrendered a five-point lead in the final 34 seconds and lost on a last-second free throw.
However, they came out with a purpose against the Kings, closing the first half with an 11-2 run to build a 12-point lead at the break. They extended the lead to 20 in the second half before allowing the lead to dwindle to three with 1:25 remaining after a 3-pointer by Bogdan Bogdanovic.
But there would be no collapse on this night.
Howard hit two clutch free throws and Willie Cauley Stein was called for goaltending on a put back by Howard. Walker added two more free throws after two Kings misses to push the Charlotte lead to nine with 23 seconds left.
Skai Labissiere had 23 points and Buddy Hield added 18 for the Kings, who have lost eight straight games and 11 of their last 12.
The Kings trailed by 20 in the third quarter, but battled back late behind Hield’s shooting. He had 10 points in the fourth quarter.