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Harden's late jumper lifts Rockets over Spurs

Updated: 2013-03-26 08:02
( China Daily)

Harden's late jumper lifts Rockets over Spurs

The Houston Rockets got contributions from several players on Sunday night against the Spurs.

In closing time, they turned to James Harden again.

Harden sank an off-balance jumper with 4.5 seconds left to lift the Rockets to a 96-95 victory over San Antonio. Harden scored 18 of his 29 points in the second half as the Rockets rallied from three down in the final minute to snap a four-game losing streak to their state rivals.

Houston has won three in a row and inched closer to clinching a postseason berth.

"Tonight was a great environment, great crowd," Harden said. "Hopefully, we can continue to build off this lead. It's momentum."

Tony Parker scored 23 points, including 10 in a row to put San Antonio ahead with just under two minutes left. The Spurs led 95-94 when Harden got the ball from Omer Asik, drove to the free-throw line and hit the winning jumper between Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard.

"The shot was there, it was a pull-up," Harden said. "I just had the confidence to go out there and shoot it."

Duncan missed a jumper from the wing just before the buzzer sounded and the Spurs had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Chandler Parsons scored 20 points and Asik grabbed 14 rebounds for the Rockets. Backup point guard Patrick Beverley had 11 points and blocked Danny Green's layup attempt with 1:22 left to keep Houston within one.

Duncan had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Spurs, who shot 42 percent (33 of 78), gave away 18 turnovers and were held below 100 points for just the third time in 12 games.

"The last few games have been pretty good," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought we worked hard tonight, executed pretty well. You can't turn it over 18 times on the road."

Associated Press

(China Daily 03/26/2013 page24)

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