James Harden returned from injury to score 28 points and Jeremy Lin (林書豪) had his first career triple-double to lead the Houston Rockets to their third straight win, 106-92 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.
Dwight Howard added 26 points and Lin came off the bench to tally 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Harden sat out the previous two games with a bruised left thumb. It showed no signs of bothering him on Saturday, when he also had four assists and three rebounds.
Houston led by as many as 19 points in the first half, before Cleveland opened the second half with an 11-0 run to take a 63-61 lead, their first since the opening minutes of the game.
Cleveland’s lead was short-lived, though, as the Rockets roared back by scoring the next 11 points to lead 72-63 and hold on for the win.
Luol Deng had 24 points, while Kyrie Irving added 21 with seven assists as Cleveland dropped their fourth in a row.
The Rockets used three-pointers by Lin and Terrence Jones to fuel a 7-2 run early in the fourth quarter that made it 93-78.
A layup by Howard followed by an alley-oop dunk by Harden with less than a minute to go pushed the lead to 106-90. Lin’s 10th assist came on Howard’s layup.
Houston were up by six a few minutes after they regained the lead in the third quarter when another run — this one 8-0 — stretched the advantage to 82-68.
Harden had a one-handed dunk before a two-handed slam by Howard on the next possession ended the run, brought the crowd to its feet and had Cleveland coach Mike Brown yelling for a timeout.
The Rockets led 84-73 entering the fourth quarter.
Five straight points by the Cavaliers got them within seven points early in the second quarter. The Rockets answered with a 14-2 spurt to push their lead to 49-30 midway through.
Lin made six consecutive points in that stretch and Omri Casspi added six points in the run.
The Cavaliers missed shots, committed turnovers and fouled on possession after possession as Houston extended their advantage.
Cleveland finally got back on track when Deng scored five quick points, including a three-pointer, as the start of a 17-6 run that got the Cavaliers within 55-47.
Deng had another three near the end of that run and Dion Waiters also hit a three-pointer.
Another three by Waiters with just a few seconds left in the quarter cut the lead to six, but Harden knocked down a three just before the buzzer to leave Houston leading 61-52 at halftime.
Cleveland had a four-point lead early, before Houston scored 11 straight points capped by a dunk from Howard to take a 15-8 lead.