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Rockets conquer Spurs again

James Harden, being guarded by the Spurs’ Matt Bonner, scores 16 of his 28 in the fourth quarter to key the Rockets’ 111-98 victory.

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James Harden, being guarded by the Spurs’ Matt Bonner, scores 16 of his 28 in the fourth quarter to key the Rockets’ 111-98 victory.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — James Harden and the Rockets are turning into a big problem for the Spurs.

Harden scored 28 and Dwight Howard had 15 points and 20 rebounds, leading balanced Houston to a 111-98 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday.

All the Rockets' starters scored in double figures as they improved to 2-0 against the Spurs this season, with both victories coming on the road. They also moved within 31/2 games of San Antonio for the Southwest Division lead.

"I think we can be very good," Houston forward and former Gator Chandler Parsons said. "It's obviously a process, and we're getting better every single day. But when we defend like that, rebound well and get out in transition, we're tough to beat."

Harden scored 31 in Houston's 112-106 victory against San Antonio on Nov. 30. The Rockets have won their past three against the Spurs dating to last season and are averaging 108.8 points over the past six games in the series.

"We just didn't give very good performances," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "You can live with that from time to time. Nobody's going to play perfect every night. But you can't combine poor performances with a lack of physicality and a lack of discipline. They whipped us. They whipped us good. That's an embarrassing loss."

Parsons and Terrence Jones scored 21 each for the Rockets, who shot 52 percent from the field. Jeremy Lin had 13 points, eight assists, two blocks and just one turnover.

The Spurs have lost two of three and split their past six games. They are 3-6 over the past month against teams with a record above .500.

Super sub Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 22 points, and Tim Duncan added 11 points and 14 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard had 13 points, but point guard Tony Parker was held to six points on 3-for-11 shooting. "We didn't play well," Parker said. "Move on to the next one, it's the NBA."

San Antonio never recovered after Houston took a 27-9 lead.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade had 23 points each, and the visiting Heat beat the Lakers 101-95 for its sixth straight win. Bosh also had 11 rebounds in Miami's fifth straight victory over Los Angeles on Christmas Day. … Kevin Durant scored 29, Russell Westbrook had a triple double by the middle of the third quarter and the visiting Thunder rolled to a 123-94 win over the Knicks. New York's Carmelo Anthony didn't play because of a sprained left ankle. … Taj Gibson scored 20 and Jimmy Butler added 15, keying a 21-5 third-quarter run that helped the visiting Bulls rout the Nets 95-78.

KOBE'S FRUSTRATION: Kobe Bryant wasn't happy about spending Christmas Day on the sideline, unable to help the struggling Lakers. "It's strange to be coming in on Christmas and not playing," said Bryant, who has an NBA-record 15 Christmas appearances but is out 4-6 weeks with a fracture in his left knee. "It's a foreign feeling, but I'm here to support my guys."

Rockets 111, Spurs 98

HOUSTON (111): Parsons 8-14 0-0 21, Jones 9-20 3-4 21, Howard 7-12 1-4 15, Lin 5-10 2-4 13, Harden 11-16 3-6 28, Casspi 3-9 0-0 7, Garcia 0-0 0-0 0, Brooks 2-5 0-0 6, Canaan 0-0 0-0 0, Brewer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 45-86 9-18 111.

SAN ANTONIO (98): Leonard 6-14 1-1 13, Duncan 4-12 3-6 11, Splitter 2-7 2-2 6, Parker 3-11 0-0 6, Belinelli 4-8 0-0 9, Ginobili 8-17 3-3 22, Diaw 2-5 0-0 4, Mills 3-6 2-2 9, Green 1-4 4-5 6, Joseph 1-2 2-2 4, Bonner 2-3 0-0 4, Ayres 0-1 2-2 2, Baynes 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 37-91 19-23 98.

Houston 40 20 23 28— 111

San Antonio 25 26 24 23— 98

3-Point GoalsHouston 12-24 (Parsons 5-9, Harden 3-3, Brooks 2-3, Lin 1-2, Casspi 1-4, Jones 0-3), San Antonio 5-20 (Ginobili 3-7, Belinelli 1-3, Mills 1-3, Bonner 0-1, Diaw 0-1, Joseph 0-1, Leonard 0-2, Green 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsHouston 57 (Howard 20), San Antonio 51 (Duncan 14). AssistsHouston 28 (Lin 8), San Antonio 18 (Duncan 5). Total FoulsHouston 16, San Antonio 13. A18,581 (18,797).

Heat 101, Lakers 95

MIAMI (101): James 7-14 5-9 19, Battier 1-5 0-0 3, Bosh 9-18 5-6 23, Chalmers 3-7 0-0 7, Wade 11-17 0-2 23, Allen 4-5 0-0 12, Lewis 1-5 0-0 3, Andersen 1-1 0-0 2, Cole 3-6 0-0 7, Haslem 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 41-80 10-17 101.

L.A. LAKERS (95): Johnson 4-10 0-0 12, Williams 1-4 0-0 3, Gasol 6-12 1-2 13, Farmar 1-7 1-2 3, Meeks 6-12 1-2 17, Henry 5-8 4-7 14, Hill 2-6 5-9 9, Young 7-18 2-2 20, Kelly 1-2 1-2 4. Totals 33-79 15-26 95.

Miami 21 30 25 25— 101

L.A. Lakers 27 19 28 21— 95

3-Point GoalsMiami 9-27 (Allen 4-5, Wade 1-1, Cole 1-2, Chalmers 1-3, Battier 1-5, Lewis 1-5, Bosh 0-2, James 0-4), L.A. Lakers 14-36 (Young 4-7, Johnson 4-9, Meeks 4-10, Kelly 1-1, Williams 1-4, Henry 0-1, Farmar 0-4). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMiami 47 (Bosh 11), L.A. Lakers 56 (Gasol 13). AssistsMiami 29 (Chalmers, Wade 7), L.A. Lakers 15 (Meeks, Gasol 3). Total FoulsMiami 20, L.A. Lakers 19. A18,997 (18,997).

Thunder 123, Knicks 94

OKLAHOMA CITY (123): Durant 10-16 5-6 29, Ibaka 10-14 3-4 24, Perkins 2-2 0-0 4, Westbrook 5-15 3-4 14, Sefolosha 1-3 0-0 3, Collison 2-4 1-2 5, Jackson 6-16 3-3 18, Lamb 5-8 1-1 13, Fisher 1-1 1-2 4, Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Adams 1-1 3-4 5, Roberson 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 45-84 20-26 123.

NEW YORK (94): J.Smith 8-22 1-3 20, Bargnani 4-8 1-1 9, Chandler 2-5 1-2 5, Udrih 1-6 0-0 2, Shumpert 3-8 1-2 8, Hardaway Jr. 8-19 3-3 21, Stoudemire 10-16 2-4 22, Martin 0-1 0-0 0, Murry 2-5 2-2 6, Aldrich 0-0 1-2 1, C.Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-90 12-19 94.

Oklahoma City 35 25 27 36— 123

New York 29 17 21 27— 94

3-Point GoalsOklahoma City 13-24 (Durant 4-6, Jackson 3-6, Lamb 2-4, Fisher 1-1, Ibaka 1-1, Sefolosha 1-2, Westbrook 1-3, Jones 0-1), New York 6-23 (J.Smith 3-9, Hardaway Jr. 2-7, Shumpert 1-4, Udrih 0-1, Murry 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsOklahoma City 54 (Westbrook 13), New York 50 (Chandler 9). AssistsOklahoma City 32 (Westbrook 10), New York 23 (Udrih 6). Total FoulsOklahoma City 21, New York 22. TechnicalsPerkins, Oklahoma City defensive three second, Stoudemire. A19,812 (19,763).

Bulls 95, Nets 78

CHICAGO (95): Dunleavy 5-10 2-2 13, Boozer 6-11 2-2 14, Noah 3-8 4-4 10, Hinrich 3-5 0-0 6, Butler 4-10 5-6 15, Gibson 9-15 2-2 20, Augustin 4-7 3-4 13, Snell 2-6 0-0 4, Mohammed 0-1 0-0 0, Murphy 0-0 0-0 0, Teague 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 36-74 18-20 95.

BROOKLYN (78): Anderson 1-2 0-0 2, Teletovic 7-11 0-1 17, Garnett 2-7 2-2 6, Williams 6-10 4-4 18, Johnson 5-11 2-4 12, Blatche 1-11 5-6 7, Evans 1-1 3-6 5, Pierce 1-8 4-4 6, Terry 0-2 1-2 1, Livingston 0-3 0-0 0, Plumlee 1-5 2-2 4, Shengelia 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-71 23-31 78.

Chicago 21 20 36 18— 95

Brooklyn 23 15 20 20— 78

3-Point GoalsChicago 5-17 (Augustin 2-4, Butler 2-4, Dunleavy 1-4, Hinrich 0-1, Snell 0-4), Brooklyn 5-17 (Teletovic 3-7, Williams 2-3, Anderson 0-1, Terry 0-2, Pierce 0-2, Johnson 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsChicago 47 (Noah, Gibson 8), Brooklyn 47 (Evans 13). AssistsChicago 20 (Augustin 5), Brooklyn 11 (Williams 4). Total FoulsChicago 22, Brooklyn 19. A17,732 (17,732).

Rockets conquer Spurs again 12/25/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 26, 2013 12:27am]

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