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Beverley, Troy Williams lead Rockets over Suns

Beverley, Troy Williams lead Rockets over Suns
Published On: Mon, Apr 03
Apr 12, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Members of the Houston Rockets Power Dancers perform during the game between the Rockets and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Pelicans 121-114. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- When Houston coach Mike D'Antoni found out that star James Harden would miss Sunday's game with the flu, he wasted no time putting heavy expectations on backup Patrick Beverley.

"Coach walked up to me and said, 'I need a triple-double out of you tonight,'" Beverley said.

D'Antoni might have been kidding, but Beverley nearly delivered.

Beverley scored a career-high 26 points and added eight rebounds and nine assists, and Troy Williams had a career-high 21 points as the short-handed Rockets had plenty of offense for a 123-116 win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

"I'm nothing close to what James Harden is, but I tried to lead these guys by example," Beverley said. "I told Troy before the game that he was going to get a lot of opportunities and he stepped up and played well. It was a team effort. It was fun."

Lou Williams scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for the Rockets, who hit 14 3-pointers. Eric Gordon added 22 points and Nene had 17 for Houston, who ended a season-worst three-game losing streak despite playing without Harden (flu), Trevor Ariza (death in family) and Ryan Anderson (ankle).

The Rockets (52-25) lost a fourth starter when Sam Dekker broke his left hand in a collision with a Suns player and left with 5:20 remaining in the game. Pending further tests, Dekker said he expects to be out three to four weeks.

"It was a loose ball and I got it pinned up. I knew it right away," Dekker said. "Thing happen. It's basketball. The pictures look OK and hopefully I can get back and help the team in the playoffs."

The Rockets put up 59 points in the first half -- including 18 by Troy Williams in his Houston debut and 13 points and seven assists by Beverley, who had a sore right ankle and was a game-time decision.

"I thought Pat was just terrific," D'Antoni said. "Lou got out and started the second half, Eric was solid the whole game and Nene finished the game off. It's never easy to win an NBA game and these guys played hard."

Houston swept the season series over the Suns (4-0) for the first time since the teams began playing in 1968-69.

Tyler Ulis had a career-high 34 points and added nine rebounds and nine assists for the Suns, who have lost 12 straight games overall and seven in a row at home.

"I'm just trying to pick my spots and I'm getting better at that," Ulis said. "The coaching staff wants me to be more aggressive and I'm learning to pick my battles -- when to shoot, when to pass."

Devin Booker added 23 of his 27 points in the second half and 14 in the fourth for Phoenix (22-56).

"I knew Tyler was pretty special quickly, watching him show flashes playing in the summer league," Phoenix coach Earl Watson said. "He held down the scoring until Devin could get going. Tyler's always going to find his best friend. You don't have to worry about that."

Houston led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter, with Gordon and Beverley scoring eight points each. Troy Williams, who was recalled from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the Developmental League and arrived in Phoenix late Sunday morning, hit six of eight shots in the first half.

"I just had fun. I don't know all the play, but I just took the wisdom and the advice from all the vets," said Troy Williams, who made 13 starts and played 24 games for the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season. "It's probably not going to be my role to shoot all those 3-pointers, but I want to use my athleticism to play defense and make smart plays."

But the Suns, who had 16 offensive rebounds in the first half -- five different players had at least two -- and caught the Rockets midway through the second period. Ulis had 12 points in the quarter and Jared Dudley had back-to-back 3-pointers during a 10-0 Phoenix run that tied the game at 47-47 on a Ulis layup with 4:59 left.

Troy Williams' fifth 3-pointer with 54 seconds left gave Houston a 59-54 lead at the half. Ulis and Beverley each had 11 points in the third quarter and the Rockets took a 90-83 lead to the fourth.

The Suns got as close as three points at 99-96 on a Marquese Chriss put-back dunk with 7:20 left, but Lou Williams followed a layup with a 3-pointer to make it 104-96 Houston with 6:49 to go.

NOTES: Suns F TJ Warren missed the game with an illness, and G Leandro Barbosa (hamstring) remains out. Derrick Jones Jr. replaced Warren in the starting lineup. ... Suns F Dragan Bender returned to action after missing 31 games with an ankle injury that required surgery. "We're excited. He's part of our core, our young core," Phoenix coach Earl Watson said. Bender finished with nine points and seven rebounds. ... Rockets G James Harden and F Trevor Ariza both missed a game for the first time this season, leaving F Sam Dekker as the only Rocket to play in all 77, before he broke his hand in the fourth quarter. ... Houston F Ryan Anderson missed his fifth consecutive game.

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