HOUSTON (AP) - Dwight Howard scored 23 points, Terrence Jones had 21 and the Houston Rockets held on for a 97-90 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.
The Rockets trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half before scoring 33 in the third quarter to go on top. San Antonio used an 11-3 spurt to pull within two in the final minutes, but Howard and Jeremy Lin helped Houston hold on for the win.
Boris Diaw scored a season-high 22 points for the Spurs, and also had 11 rebounds. Tony Parker added 17 points and Tim Duncan had 12 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.
The Rockets were without leading scorer James Harden (bruised left thumb), who is averaging 23.7 points per game this season. But Jones stepped up in his absence and Lin had 18 points and eight assists while starting in Harden's spot.
Houston was clinging to a 90-88 lead with less than two minutes left when Howard had a dunk and Lin made a jumper. Duncan had a layup on the other end, but Lin sunk a pair of free throws to secure the victory.
Houston has won all three meetings with the Southwest Division-leading Spurs this season. San Antonio's 90-point performance ended a streak of 15 straight games with at least 100 points. The last time they were held below 100 was a 111-98 loss to Houston on Christmas Day.