Howard, Rockets turn back Heat

HOUSTON — LeBron James was wiped out — and it showed.

Dwight Howard had 22 points and 16 rebounds, James Harden added 21 points and the Houston Rockets held James in check Tuesday night during a 106-103 win over the Miami Heat.

James had a chance to tie the game with a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it was off — just like most of his second-half shots.

The four-time MVP finished with 22 points, one night after setting a club record with a career-high 61 against Charlotte. He acknowledged before Tuesday's game that he was "extremely tired" and that he spent most of the day sleeping.

James had 19 points by halftime, but appeared to drag at times in the second half and spent the first half of the fourth quarter on the bench. He was 1 for 7 after the break.

"I fought through it in the first half. Second half it just wasn't there for me," James said. "Got out of rhythm."

Still, the Heat cut their deficit to three when Michael Beasley hit a 3-pointer with 21.2 seconds left. Harden threw the ball away after that, and Howard accidentally hit James in the face when they both went up to try to grab a long pass.

James lay on the court holding his broken nose for a few seconds before getting up and slowly walking to the bench. He has been wearing a protective mask to protect his nose.

James remained in the game after a timeout, then missed the desperation 3 with Howard in his face.

"I knew I had to put up a heave over top of him," James said. "I felt like I got a good look — just a little long."

The Rockets used the word composed repeatedly after the game to describe their play.

"There's no need for us to get worried," Howard said of the team's mindset after Beasley's 3. "Situations like that, the best thing we can do is stay composed. If we point our finger or put our heads down, it gives the other team confidence. That's something we've been trying to work on all year."

Dwyane Wade had 24 points for the Heat after sitting out Monday night. Beasley also scored 24, a season high.

Miami never led, but tied it twice in the fourth quarter. Houston used an 11-2 spurt to take a 104-95 lead with less than 3 minutes remaining.

"We were able to push back in the fourth quarter and tie the game up," Wade said. "But we had to exhaust so much energy trying to come back."

Houston led by 13 early in the fourth before two separate runs by the Heat tied it at 91 with 7 minutes remaining. The also tied it at 93 before Houston used its late run to close it out.

"We did some good stuff," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "We made some plays. ... I thought during stretches in this game we played really well."

The Heat had made consecutive 3-pointers to cut the lead to seven early in the fourth quarter when Chris Andersen blocked a shot by Donatas Motiejunas. Andersen stood under the basket after the block and taunted Motiejunas, drawing a technical foul.

Miami then used an 8-0 run, which included a 3 by Beasley, to cut it to 88-87 with 81/2; minutes left.

Houston opened the second half with a 9-2 run capped by Chandler Parsons' dunk over James. Shane Battier had a basket for Miami after that, but Houston reeled off six straight points to extend the lead to 68-56.

An airball on a 3-point attempt by Wade was one of three missed shots by the Heat in that span.

The Rockets were up by nine soon after that when Harden launched a long alley-oop to Howard, who barely grabbed it in time to sail over Chris Bosh for the dunk.

Howard picked up a foul with about 5 minutes left in the first half when he ran into James as he was driving to the basket, causing him to lose control of the ball, which bounced off James' mask.

A reverse layup by James and a free throw by Wade in the last 20 seconds of the first half cut Houston's lead to 53-52 at halftime.

The Rockets jumped out to a 7-0 lead and were up 39-32 at the end of the first quarter.

Warriors 98, Pacers 96

At Indianapolis, Klay Thompson made a 12-foot turnaround jumper with 0.6 seconds left, and Golden State held off Indiana to hand the Pacers only their fourth home loss this season.

Thompson scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter. Stephen Curry finished with 19 points for the Warriors, who have won five of six. It was their first win at Indiana in seven years.

David West led the Pacers with 27 points and Paul George added 26 as Indiana's five-game winning streak ended.

The Warriors were in control most of the night and led 92-79 with 6:23 to play. But the Pacers tied it at 94 with a 12-0 run. After Thompson put Golden State ahead again, George's long 3-pointer at the buzzer was short. George fell into the scorers' table, but no foul was called and the Pacers didn't complain.

Thunder 125, 76ers 92

At Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook had a triple-double in 21 minutes and Kevin Durant scored 42 points to help Oklahoma City defeat woeful Philadelphia for its third straight win.

Westbrook wrapped up his eighth career triple-double on a rebound with 4:55 left in the third quarter. He left the game moments later and did not return. He finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists.

Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson each scored 14 points and Perry Jones added 12 for the Thunder, who shot 57 percent from the field in their most lopsided victory of the season.

Spurs 122, Cavaliers 101

At Cleveland, Danny Green scored 24 points and San Antonio turned to its 3-point shooting to shake off a sluggish start in a victory over Cleveland.

Kawhi Leonard added 18 points, and Patty Mills and Boris Diaw had 16 apiece as the Spurs won their fourth straight. They did it with stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker combining for just 14 points.

San Antonio, chasing Oklahoma City for the best record in the Western Conference, made 14 of 33 3-pointers. The Spurs trailed by 12 early in the second before making six straight 3s.

Clippers 104, Suns 96

At Phoenix, Matt Barnes scored 18 of his season-high 28 points in the third quarter and Los Angeles beat Phoenix for its fifth victory in a row.

Barnes made 12 of his first 13 shots, scoring 16 points in the first 5:09 of the third quarter. Blake Griffin added 22 points and Darren Collison had 18 for Los Angeles.

DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 17 rebounds and blocked Goran Dragic's layup try with the Suns still in it with 41 seconds to go.

Pelicans 132, Lakers 125

At Los Angeles, Anthony Davis had 28 points and 15 rebounds, Eric Gordon also scored 28 and New Orleans beat Los Angeles to snap an eight-game losing streak.

Brian Roberts scored 10 of his 19 points for New Orleans during a 11/2;-minute span in the fourth quarter. Tyreke Evans had 24 points and 11 assists, helping the Pelicans salvage the finale of a five-game road trip.

The win ended a string of nine straight road losses to the Lakers and was only the third for New Orleans in the last 18 meetings overall. Pau Gasol had 29 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who were attempting to match their longest winning streak of the season at three. The loss was their 27th in 35 games and dropped them back into sole possession of last place in the Western Conference.


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