March 9, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) controls the ball against Phoenix Suns point guard Kendall Marshall (12) in the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Suns Hold Off Rockets! Suns 107 - Rockets 105

The Phoenix Suns(22-41) held off the Houston Rockets(34-30) on Saturday night 107-105 despite James Harden pouring in 38 points for Houston. Harden made 11 of 17 field goal attempts including seven three-pointers made. This is Harden’s 17th 30+ point game on the season; he had just three 30+ point games prior to this season.

The Suns trailed the Rockets 77-81 early in the fourth quarter but the Suns went on a 22-11 run which gave them the lead over Houston 99-92 with 1:27 left in the contest. After Harden split two free-throws, the Rockets closed the gap to 93-99. Goran Dragic would then respond with a clutch fall-away 14-footer with 52 seconds left in the game to give the Suns a 101-93 lead.

However, the Rockets as a unit nearly pulled off a Tracy McGrady. Houston would score 12 points in the final 32 seconds as James Harden drilled a three-pointer followed by a Carlos Defino three-pointer on the next Rocket’s possession, Harden would then hit another three-pointer with five seconds left to make it a 102-105 ball game and after a pair of Dragic free throws, Donatas Motiejunas would drain another three-pointer with time running out; unfortunately for Houston, it just wasn’t enough. As that young Miami Heat fan would say “Good job! Good Effort!”

Jared Dudley played a phenomenal game off the bench as he recorded 22 points and seven assists in 33 minutes of action. Despite being demoted to bench duties due to the status of the season, but Jared Dudley has really displayed highly respectable professionalism as well as his never ending hard work and effort on both ends of the court.

“I see him as a crucial piece to what we’re trying to build.” Said head coach Lindsey Hunter.

The Phoenix bench was just flat-out spectacular last night. Hamed Haddidi did an excellent job filling in as the back-up center as he racked up six points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Kendall Marshall added nine points and four assists including that NASHTY between the legs 30-foot bounce pass to Jared Dudley for the lay-up; P.J Tucker added 10 rebounds off the bench.

“I want to improve my game. My time in games and my play in games.” Said Hamed Haddadi.

As I said in the preview, if Houston turns the ball over 20 times they could easily walk out of Phoenix with a big fat L, and that’s exactly what took place. The Houston Rockets, the most turnover prone team in the NBA turned the ball over 21 times leading to 28 points for the Suns which ultimately proved to be their downfall last night.

Houston as a group were red-hot from outside as they drained 19 three-pointers, however the Rockets scored just 28 points in the paint. Houston shot 46.3% from beyond the arc but shot just 43% overall from the field. The Houston Rockets sophomore sensation Chandler Parsons who’s averaged 24.4 points on 64% shooting over his last five games scored just 14 points tonight on 5 of 16 shooting from the floor.

This was an highly entertaining game between the two squads, packed with highlights and scoring. Expect more of the same as the Suns will face the Rockets again on Wednesday, but this time it’ll be at the Toyota Center in Houston. The Suns and Rockets are set to square off three more times this season.

Tags: Houston Rockets NBA Phoenix Suns

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