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NBA roundup: Harden scores 40 in Rockets’ win

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PHOENIX — Shaking off a third-quarter elbow stinger, Houston Rockets guard James Harden scored 40 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out nine assists, leading the Rockets to a 127-118 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

Houston blew an 18-point first-quarter lead, fell behind eight in the third and still rallied.

Forward Josh Smith added 20 points and six rebounds for the Rockets, who won for the seventh time in nine games and beat the Suns for the fifth consecutive time.

Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe had 32 points, and guard Goran Dragic added 20 for the Suns, who enter the All-Star break in a 3-7 slump. Phoenix allowed a combined 80 points in the first and fourth quarters and couldn’t stop Harden or any other Rocket down the stretch.

Bulls 104, Kings 86

CHICAGO — Led by guard Derrick Rose and forward Pau Gasol, Chicago beat Sacramento to earn its third consecutive win.

Rose scored 23 points and had seven assists with no turnovers. Gasol notched his NBA-leading 34th double-double with 26 points and 16 rebounds. Reserve guard Tony Snell scored a career-high 24 points for Chicago and shot a blistering 9-for-11 from the field, including 4-for-6 from behind the 3-point arc.

Guard Rudy Gay, who missed the previous game with a sore left foot, led Sacramento with 24 points. Kings star center DeMarcus Cousins was limited to 15 points on 5-for-15 shooting, and guards Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum each scored 11 points.

Grizzlies 95, Nets 86

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Power forward Zach Randolph scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and center Marc Gasol added 14 points and 11 rebounds as Memphis cruised past Brooklyn.

Memphis gained a 19-point advantage before the end of the first quarter and was up 73-51 with 2:47 left in the third quarter. Grizzlies shooting guard Courtney Lee scored 11 of his 15 points in the third quarter on 4-for-6 shooting.

The Nets used an 11-2 run at the end of the third to slice the lead to 75-62 heading into the fourth quarter. Brooklyn got within seven points in the final 1:44 but no closer. Guard Alan Anderson and center Mason Plumlee led the Nets with 15 points apiece. Plumlee added 14 rebounds.

Pistons 106, Hornets 78

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Forward Greg Monroe had 23 points and 12 rebounds in less than three quarters of action, and guards D.J. Augustin and Jodie Meeks scored 18 each as Detroit rolled over short-handed Charlotte.

The Pistons dominated the second and third quarters, outscoring Charlotte 28-19 in the second and 29-14 in the third. They eventually led by 23 points going into the fourth and pushed the margin up to as many as 31 in the fourth.

The Hornets, who lost their third straight, suited up just 10 players. They traded guard Gary Neal to Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon along with a 2019 second-round pick for guards Mo Williams and Troy Daniels, and they waived guard Elliot Williams. They were also without guard Kemba Walker (knee), center Bismack Biyombo (knee) and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (hamstring). Guard Gerald Henderson led Charlotte with 17 points.

Nuggets 106, Lakers 96

LOS ANGELES — Point guard Ty Lawson scored a season-high 32 points and handed out 16 assists, leading Denver to a victory over Los Angeles.

Backup forward Darrell Arthur added 15 points for the Nuggets, who snapped a six-game losing streak. Forwards Wilson Chandler and J.J. Hickson scored 13 apiece, while guard Randy Foye chipped in 12 points.

Reserve forward Carlos Boozer scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who dropped their fifth in a row and 14th in the past 15 games. Guard Wayne Ellington finished with 18 points.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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