PHOENIX (AP) – Houston’s James Harden scored 20 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter to steer the Rockets to a 127-118 win at Phoenix on Tuesday, having trailed by a point after three quarters.
The Rockets remained three games behind Southwest Division leader Memphis, which had a home win over Brooklyn, while another key result saw Chicago regain the outright lead of the Central Division by beating Sacramento.
Houston led by 18 points early but the Suns rallied and led 89-88 after three quarters.
Harden, who ended the first and second quarters with 3-pointers, then opened the fourth with a four-point play that put the Rockets ahead for good. He scored eight in a row during a 2-1/2 minute stretch late in the fourth.
He has six games of 40-plus points this season.
Josh Smith added 20 for the Rockets, who have one more game before the All-Star break, against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Eric Bledsoe scored 32, one shy of his career high, for the Suns, who have lost five of six.
Memphis maintained its divisional buffer over the Rockets by beating Brooklyn 95-86.
Zach Randolph had 19 points and Marc Gasol added 14 and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who had six players in double figures and made it 14 wins from 16 games.
Mason Plumlee and Alan Anderson each had 15 points for the Nets, who trailed by double digits for most of the game.
Chicago’s Pau Gasol continued his strong play with 26 points and 16 rebounds to guide the Bulls to a 104-86 win against Sacramento.
It was Gasol’s NBA-best 34th double-double of the season. He now has 13 straight.
Tony Snell had a career-high 24, going 9 for 11 from the field, including 4 for 6 on 3-pointers. His previous high was 20 points.
The Kings have dropped 12 of 14. Rudy Gay’s 24 points led the Kings, who have lost 12 of 14.
Detroit’s Greg Monroe had 23 points and 12 rebounds as the Pistons cruised past Charlotte 106-78.
Denver ended a six-game losing skid by winning 106-96 at the Los Angeles Lakers, with Ty Lawson having season-highs of 32 points and 16 assists.