By Adam Spolane

James Harden scored 32 points Monday night at Toyota Center as the Rockets entered their post-Christmas schedule with a 131-115 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Harden hit on 9-of-18 shots from the field and added five rebounds and 12 assists. It marked the 20th time this season he’s gone for at least 20-points and 10 assists. He did it 16 times last season.

Four other Rockets scored in double-figures as they improved to 23-9 on the season. Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon scored 15, Montrezl Harrell added 14, Sam Dekker 12, and Patrick Beverly 11, he left the game in the fourth quarter with a thigh bruise.

Houston never trailed in the game, scoring the game’s first bucket and running off eight in a row after Phoenix tied the game. The first quarter ended with the Rockets leading 39-23, and they started the second quarter with a 12-4, but Phoenix closed to within 14 thanks to Eric Bledsoe’s layup with 3:02 left before halftime, but the Rockets closed the half with a 14-2 run.

In the third quarter, the Rockets built the lead to 34 points, but Phoenix outscored them 35-24 in the fourth quarter. The Suns scored 72 second half points.

Eric Bledsoe led Phoenix with 24 points, while Brandon Knight added 21, 14 of which came in the fourth quarter.

The win gets the Rockets to 23-9 on the season. They still have not lost back-to-back games, and will play in Dallas Tuesday night.


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