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Harden powers Rockets to win over Nets

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Associated Press
1/26/2013 10:50:49 PM
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HOUSTON -- Jeremy Lin said the Houston Rockets just needed to see what they were doing wrong in order to fix it.

James Harden scored 29 points, Chandler Parsons added 16 points and a career-high 11 assists and the Rockets dominated inside to beat Brooklyn 119-106 on Saturday night for their 12th consecutive win over the Nets.

Omer Asik had 20 points and 16 rebounds for Houston, which outrebounded the Nets 50-31 and outscored Brooklyn 60-24 in the paint. Houston had 31 assists on 43 field goals and committed only 11 turnovers, the team's lowest total in three weeks.

The Rockets dropped seven in a row from Jan. 9-19, and Lin said a lengthy film session on Thursday helped them correct their mistakes.

"We weren't doing what we were supposed to do," Lin said. "The coaches showed us a few days ago what we can look like. That was a nice reminder to all of us."

Nets star Deron Williams scored 27 points, but cooled off after a 20-point first quarter. He was ejected with 1:07 left after arguing a call with referee David Jones and didn't speak to the media after the game.

The individual duel between Lin and Williams became a backstory as the Rockets pulled away.

Lin had his breakout game against Williams last Feb. 4, scoring 25 points and launching "Linsanity" in a 99-92 victory for the New York Knicks. Williams scored 38 points the next time they met at Madison Square Garden, leading the Nets to a 100-92 win.

Houston nabbed Lin in the off-season, and Raymond Felton replaced Lin in the Knicks' lineup. Williams said before the season that he thought Felton was the better point guard.

Lin downplayed the matchup with Williams and deflected another round of questions about his rise to stardom in New York last year.

"That's well beyond me," Lin said with an easy smile. "I'm well past that."

But Williams seemed pretty determined at the beginning of the game, scoring Brooklyn's first nine points, and 17 of its first 22. He started 7 for 7 and just beat the first-quarter buzzer with his fourth 3-pointer to put Brooklyn up 29-28.

He went 3 for 8 over the final three quarters, as the Rockets swarmed him with multiple players.

"We were just trying to make it difficult (on Williams)," Lin said. "We had extra guys coming in to protect on when he would drive. We just tried to load on him really fast."

Brook Lopez scored 21 points and Joe Johnson added 13 for Brooklyn, which trailed by as much as 18 in the first half.

"We dug a hole because we weren't defending well or we couldn't put the ball in the basket," Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said.

The Rockets had 17 assists on their first 20 field goals. Parsons had eight assists by himself in the first half, matching his career high for a game.

"Our spacing was unbelievable," Parsons said. "It allowed more guys to penetrate, it allowed more guys to have open shots and we really moved the ball great."

Williams didn't score with Parsons guarding him in the second quarter, and Lopez went 1 for 7 in the first half. Houston outrebounded Brooklyn 27-15 and outscored the Nets 32-6 in the paint to lead 62-49 at the break.

Lin was back on Williams in the third, and the Rockets stayed comfortably in front. Brooklyn played better defence toward the end of the quarter and cut the deficit to 89-80. Williams missed a 3-point try and Carlos Delfino finished a fast break with a dunk early in the fourth to restore Houston's double-digit lead.

Lin sank his first two 3-pointers of the game to put Houston over 100 points for just the third time in six games. Harden converted a three-point play and drove for a reverse layup to give the Rockets a 113-98 advantage with four minutes left.

NOTES: The Rockets reinstated suspended rookie forward Royce White before the game. He's due to report to Rio Grande Valley, the team's developmental league affiliate, on Feb. 11. White, the 16th overall pick in the last draft, has been inactive all season while he worked on an arrangement with the team to balance his acknowledged anxiety disorder with the demands of the NBA schedule. ... Williams is the first Houston opponent to score 20 points in a quarter since Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 in the fourth quarter of a 117-110 Dallas victory last April. ... Harden missed a free throw, snapping a streak of 36 straight successful foul shots.

James Harden (Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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