Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Hakim Warrick finished with a career-high 32 points to go with eight rebounds, as the Suns held on to top the Rockets, 113-110, at US Airways Center.
Vince Carter poured in 32 points, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, with six caroms for Phoenix, which got 14 assists and nine points from Steve Nash. Grant Hill supplied 19 points and Marcin Gortat posted a game-high 16 rebounds with 13 points in a reserve role for the Suns, who have won two of three and began a three-game homestand with the win.
“I thought we did a great job. I thought we played throughout,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “We didn’t get to some balls early on in the game that I thought they beat us to, but I thought in the second half we did just about everything we needed to do.”
Kyle Lowry paced the Rockets with 32 points. Patrick Patterson added 18 in a reserve role while Kevin Martin had 17 points, including 7-of-7 from the foul line, for Houston, which has dropped seven straight to Phoenix.
“It’s a tough loss, a tough loss,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. “We didn’t guard them well in the second half and they made us pay.”
Trailing 82-79 entering the final stanza, Carter tied the game 38 seconds into the fourth with a long three. The game remained close down the stretch until five straight points from Carter inside the final minutes created some distance.
After making 1-of-2 from the line, Carter made a short jumper at 1:58 to put the Suns up 104-98. The Phoenix lead remained around five until a Chase Budinger dunk and Lowry three — surrounding a pair of Nash free throws — made it a one-possession game, 112-110, with 14.3 seconds remaining.
Forced to foul, the Rockets sent Nash to the line with 13.6 ticks remaining, and after making the first he missed on the second, allowing the Rockets a shot at the tie.
Brad Miller grabbed the rebound on the missed free throw, and after taking it the length of the court, came up short on a three-pointer at the buzzer, ending the game.
“I should have shot the ball. I should have shot it,” Lowry said regarding the final possession. “I should have made it a clean look. That’s how basketball games are supposed to be played.”
Warrick posted 14 points on 6-of-8 from the field in the first quarter, but the Rockets held a slim 26-24 lead after 12 minutes.
The Rockets widened their lead to a game-high 11 with a Patterson dunk just over the five-minute mark of the second, but Warrick’s dunk off a Chuck Hayes miss started an 12-2 Phoenix run to keep the game close.
Carter capped the spurt with a three-pointer at 1:32, and after trading baskets, Houston took a 50-48 lead into the break.
Brook Lopez tied the game at 50 on the first possession of the third, and after taking a few short leads throughout the quarter, the Suns went cold in the final minutes, allowing Houston to take an 82-79 lead into the final stanza.
Budinger finished with 13 points in the loss…Phoenix held a 41-36 rebounding margin…Houston went 24-of-32 from the line; 18-of-25 from Phoenix…Lowry was 7-of-11 from three-point range…Mickael Pietrus of Phoenix was ejected from the game after receiving consecutive technicals at 9:03 of the second quarter.