NBA regular season

Kevin Durant triple-double leads Suns past Rockets


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Kevin Durant triple-double leads Suns past Rockets

SOARING. Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) dunks against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

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Kevin Durant tallies a triple-double with a career-high 16 assists as his Phoenix Suns roll over the young Houston Rockets

Kevin Durant produced a triple-double that included a career-high-tying 16 assists while Devin Booker and Eric Gordon combined for 47 points as the Phoenix Suns rolled to a 129-113 road victory over Houston Rockets on Wednesday (Thursday, December 28, Manila time).

Durant posted 27 points and 10 rebounds and served as the orchestrator for the Suns. His deft passing steered a balanced first-half offensive attack and, when the Suns required his scoring prowess, Durant proved more than capable of handling that assignment.

Booker tallied 20 points and seven assists while Gordon scored 17 of his 27 points during a breathtaking second-quarter shooting display. The Suns took turns exploiting the Rockets’ defense, with Houston left vulnerable by the absence of Dillon Brooks (right oblique strain).

The Rockets lost for the third time in four home games on the heels of an 11-game homecourt winning streak. Alperen Sengun paced Houston with 24 points while Jalen Green added 23. But the Rockets shot 41.7 percent and struggled to keep pace with Phoenix, which led by as many as 21.

Grayson Allen was first to get going for the Suns, pouring in 10 of his 16 points in the first period while shooting 4 of 5 from the floor. His three-point play at the 1:45 mark gave Phoenix its first double-digit lead at 28-18. The Suns recorded eight assists on 11 baskets in the frame.

Durant scored one point in the first quarter and thrived as the facilitator deep into the second. His seventh assist came on a Nassir Little three-point play that lifted the Suns to a 42-30 lead. Durant then got himself going offensively, following a 3-pointer with a dunk that upped the margin to 16 points.

But it was Gordon, who drilled five 3-pointers in the second, and Udoka Azubuike (11 points, five boards) that helped Phoenix extend to a 73-55 lead at the intermission.

Durant had a double-double (10 points, 10 assists) while Gordon tallied 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting in the first half. Sengun and Green combined for 29 points before the intermission, but their teammates shot just 9 for 23 in the half. The Suns shot a robust 60 percent before halftime. –

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