HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 11 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Houston Rockets rally for a 100-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night.
Harden struggled from the field, going 2 for 9, but was 22 of 25 from the free throw line. He made 9 of 11 foul shots in the final quarter.
Jeremy Lin had 14 of his 18 points in the fourth as Houston won for the third time in four games. The Rockets were coming off an impressive 111-98 victory at San Antonio on Christmas.
Houston center Dwight Howard battled foul trouble for most of the game and was held to two points and six rebounds. He was whistled for his fifth foul with 7:52 left in the third and never returned to the action.
The Rockets made up for Howard’s slow night with four players in double figures. Terrence Jones scored 20 points, and Chandler Parsons had 15 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
Zach Randolph led Memphis with 23 points and 17 rebounds. The Grizzlies had won two in a row.
Trailing 76-66 with 10:55 to go, Houston used a 21-5 run over nearly six minutes to take an 87-81 lead on two Harden free throws with five minutes left. Lin powered the surge with 10 points, including two 3-pointers, and Harden added six points in the decisive stretch.
After trading 3-pointers, Harden extended Houston’s lead to eight on a jumper with 1:49 remaining. Tayshaun Prince hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to five, but Houston went 8 for 10 at the line to close it out.
The Rockets went 12 for 24 from 3-point range in the victory over the Spurs, but they were 5 for 24 from beyond the arc against the Grizzlies. But they made three 3s in the fourth quarter and enjoyed a dominant night at the line, making 33 of 40 free throws, compared to 11 for 20 for the Grizzlies.
Memphis reserve James Johnson had 12 points, and Kosta Koufos had five points and 11 boards to help the Grizzlies to a 49-41 rebounding advantage, including a 20-7 margin on the offensive glass that led to 21 second-chance points.
Memphis outscored the Rockets 22-6 over an 8½-minute stretch of the second quarter, turning an eight-point deficit into a 45-37 lead with 2:57 remaining. The Grizzlies led 53-45 at halftime.
NOTES: Houston C Greg Smith missed his third consecutive game with a sprained right knee. … Prince started after missing the last three games with left knee soreness. He finished with nine points. … The Rockets re-hired Gersson Rosas to co-lead their scouting and player personnel department with Gianluca Pascucci. Rosas was hired as Dallas general manager in the offseason, but he left the Mavericks a little more than three months after being hired.
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