NBA: Lin scores 21, but Rockets streak ends

SHARP SPURS::Tony Parker contributed 31 points and 10 assists to lead San Antonio to victory over Houston, whose defeat dropped them to 16-13 for the season

AP, Salt Lake city, Utah, and Staff writer with CNA

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 - Page 20

The San Antonio Spurs ended the Houston Rockets’ five-game winning streak in the NBA on Friday, the third straight time Houston have lost to their Texan rivals this season. The Rockets stayed close to the Spurs through the first three quarters in San Antonio, but they trailed by double digits for most of the final 12 minutes in a 122-116 loss.

James Harden scored a game high 33 points, Chandler Parsons had 24, and Jeremy Lin added 21 for Houston. Lin shot nine of 16 from the field in scoring 20 points or more for the fifth time this season, and also had four steals and a team-high eight assists. However, Lin, Harden and Parsons also had five turnovers apiece.

The Spurs jumped out to a 21-8 lead in the first six minutes and scored a season high 41 points in the first quarter on 70 percent shooting. Trailing 41-29 after the opening quarter, the Rockets pulled back to narrow the deficit to 69-65 at the half and were 98-92 at the end of the third quarter before faltering. Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said his team dug itself too deep a hole early in the contest.

“We had to fight back. I was proud of the guys and how they battled back,” he said.

Tony Parker contributed 31 points and 10 assists and Tim Duncan had 30 points and five rebounds to lead the Spurs. Manu Ginobili added a season-high 23 points off the bench.

“I had a nice stretch early in the third quarter, but those guys [Parker and Duncan] have been great all season. I kind of joined in on the scoring. The main thing is that we beat another great team that has been rolling,” Ginobili said.

The loss dropped the Rockets to 16-13 for the season.

The Los Angeles Clippers were forced to dig deep to keep their extraordinary winning streak going, coming from 19 points down in the third quarter to edge the Utah Jazz 116-114 and notch a 16th straight victory.

In other key results, the Golden State Warriors almost gave up a big lead, but hung on to beat Philadelphia, while the Sacramento Kings did give up a 27-point lead against the New York Knicks before snatching the win with a three-pointer on the buzzer.

Los Angeles’ Chris Paul scored 29 points, including the Clippers last seven, most from the free-throw line.

Ex-Clipper Randy Foye’s three-pointer at the buzzer was contested by Matt Barnes, but no foul was called. Foye finished with a season-high 28 points for Utah.

The Jazz led 74-55 with eight minutes, eight seconds left in the third quarter, but the visitors outscored Utah 29-14 the rest of the quarter to lead at the last break.

Six Golden State players reached double figures as the Warriors held off a late Philadelphia charge and beat the 76ers 96-89, with David Lee scoring 25 points with 12 rebounds.

Jarrett Jack added 16 points in a reserve role for the Warriors, who nearly blew a 20-point lead in the second half before securing a first win over the Sixers in more than two years.

Jrue Holiday had 21 points and 10 assists for Philadelphia.

Sacramento looked to have blown a huge lead over New York, but on the Kings’ final chance, John Salmons found James Johnson, who sank the three-pointer to snatch a 106-105 win. Marcus Thornton scored 18 points, and Johnson had 17 for the Kings.

J.R. Smith scored a season-high 28 points for the Knicks, who were again without injured leading scorer Carmelo Anthony.

The Miami Heat were also missing a key player — the suspended Dwyane Wade — and paid the price, losing 109-99 at the Detroit Pistons.

Will Bynum had 25 points and 10 assists, leading another spirited performance by the Detroit reserves, who had 64 points. Charlie Villanueva had 18 for the Pistons, who trailed by 15 points after one quarter, but outscored the Heat 41-20 in the second to turn it around.

Denver’s Danilo Gallinari scored a career-high 39 points as the Nuggets spoiled Dirk Nowitzki’s first home game since returning from knee surgery by beating the Dallas Mavericks 106-85.

Gallinari scored five points in the 5.3 seconds before halftime and opened the second half with a three-pointer to put the Nuggets up by 11. Andre Iguodala hit four three-pointers in a 32-point third quarter and finished with 29 points.

The Los Angeles Lakers never trailed in beating the Portland Trail Blazers 104-87, notching their sixth win in seven games.

Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds and Kobe Bryant scored 27 points for the Lakers.

The Indiana Pacers downed the Phoenix Suns 97-91, with George Hill scoring 22 points, including three three-pointers.

The Atlanta Hawks scored the final nine points to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-94, while Brooklyn’s new coach P.J. Carlesimo took a win on debut as the Nets won 97-81, inflicting a 17th straight loss on the Charlotte Bobcats.

Also on Friday, the Washington Wizards beat the Orlando Magic 105-97 and the Toronto Raptors downed the New Orleans Bobcats 104-97.