HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – James Harden led the way, as usual, but Corey Brewer keyed a fourth-quarter spurt that helped push the Rockets past the Pelicans 121-114 in a much-needed win Sunday at the Toyota Center.
The teams were tied 86-86 after three quarters, but with Harden resting to start the fourth, Brewer scored 10 of the Rockets’ first 16 points of the quarter as Houston raced out to a 102-94 lead. They would build as much as a 12-point lead in the fourth.
Brewer finished with 20 points, 13 of them in the fourth. Harden scored 30 points with seven assists. All 30 of those points were scored in the opening three quarters. Dwight Howard had 19 points and 11 rebounds in roughly 28 minutes of action.
With the win, the Rockets’ record stays even with the Grizzlies, Spurs, and Clippers in the battle for Western Conference playoff positioning for seeds two through six. As the Rockets game was ending, San Antonio was well ahead of Phoenix. A Spurs win would put San Antonio at the two seed. The Rockets will stay at the six seed on this night, but have their chances increased for a move to the five seed, which would mean home-court advantage against the fourth-seeded Blazers.
For the Pelicans, with Oklahoma City losing to the Pacers on Sunday, the loss was a blown opportunity to cement their position as their eighth seed in the West. As it stands, the Pelicans currently remain eighth due to tiebreakers.