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Postgame Central: Suns at Rockets - March 14, 2011

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March 14, 2011 Toyota Center
Zabian Dowdell
Kevin Martin
23 PTS, 8-16 FG, 3-5 3-PT

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Had Jared Dudley's three-pointer at the buzzer dropped, the Suns' bench would have scored an even 50 points in a Suns' win. As it was Phoenix reserves led the comeback and outscored the Rockets bench 47-16.

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"We have to come out and play hard and in the second half we did a better job. It’s disappointing with how we played as a team."
- Vince Carteer

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Comeback Comes Up Short in Houston

HOUSTON (AP)- Kevin Martin scored 23 points, Chuck Hayes had a career-high 21 points and nine rebounds and the Houston Rockets snapped a seven-game losing streak to Phoenix with a 95-93 win over the Suns on Monday night.

Kyle Lowry added 18 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Rockets, who stayed three games behind Memphis in the race for the final playoff spot.

Vince Carter scored 21 to lead the Suns, who played without point guard Steve Nash for the second straight game.

Aaron Brooks, acquired from Houston in a trade at the deadline, started for Nash, who sat out with a hip problem, and struggled, scoring two points on 1 for 9 shooting.

The Suns slipped 2 1/2 games behind the Grizzlies in the race for the No. 8 playoff spot in the West.

The Suns rallied from 14 points down in the second half to tie it in the closing minutes. Phoenix had a chance to win at the end, but Jared Dudley missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would've given his team its first lead.

Josh Childress scored 15 and Zabian Dowdell had 11 points, five assists and four steals for the Suns, who dropped to 0-4 without Nash this season.

The Suns acquired Brooks in exchange for point guard Goran Dragic and a first-round pick. Brooks faced his old team for the first time last week in Phoenix, a 113-110 Suns' win.

Brooks, Houston's first-round draft pick in 2007, got a loud ovation when he was introduced before the game. He pulled down the game's first rebound.

During an early timeout, a video montage of Brooks' highlights from his 3-plus seasons played on the scoreboard, prompting more applause. Brooks acknowledged the crowd with a quick wave.

Martin swished a deep 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the first quarter to stretch Houston's lead to 21-10. The Suns missed 9 of their first 14 shots. Brooks started 0 for 4, including an uncontested 3-point try near the 2-minute mark of the quarter.

The Rockets missed 12 of their first 15 shots in the fourth quarter, some of them point-blank layups, helping the Suns rally.

Childress swished a 3 from the corner, and Grant Hill hit a mid-range jumper to draw the Suns within one, at 87-86, with three minutes left. Hayes hit two free throws with 2:17 left, but Dowdell hit a 3 from the corner to tie it.

Lowry sank a jumper from the wing, but Hayes missed two free throws with 30 seconds left to keep the score 93-91.

Carter missed a 3-pointer, Hayes rebounded and was fouled by Hill with 24 seconds to go. Hayes made his second free-throw attempt, but Marcin Gortat got free for an easy dunk with 16 seconds left to cut Houston's lead to 94-93.

Chase Budinger was fouled by Brooks and hit two free throws with 11 seconds to go. Carter had the ball as the final seconds ticked away, and had to pass to Dudley out of a double-team for the final shot.

NOTES: Houston forward Luis Scola sat out for the third straight game (sore left knee). ... The Rockets failed to reach 100 points for only the second time in 16 games. ... Nash was officially listed as being out with "pelvic instability." Houston G Terrence Williams sat out with "lower abdominal distress." ... The Suns lost for only the third time in their last nine road games.

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