NBA: Russell Westbrook, James Harden lead Houston Rockets' rally against San Antonio Spurs

Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (in black) shoots the ball during a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Dec 16, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Russell Westbrook scored 25 of his 31 points in the first half, and James Harden finished with 28 as the Houston Rockets rallied for a 109-107 National Basketball Association (NBA) win over the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Monday (Dec 16).

Houston trailed by 25 in the second quarter and by 19 at the half but roared back behind Harden and Westbrook, assuming a 101-97 lead on a Harden dunk with 4:46 to play.

P.J. Tucker's three-pointer with 2:34 to play gave the Rockets a 107-104 lead.

Both teams struggled offensively down the stretch, with Rudy Gay's layup with 46.3 seconds left bringing San Antonio to within 107-106.

Harden, who scored 19 after half-time, then canned two free throws with 16.2 seconds remaining to push the Houston advantage to three points. Bryn Forbes then missed a three-pointer for the Spurs, but Houston's Clint Capela mishandled the rebound, giving San Antonio another chance with 6.3 seconds to play.

The Rockets chose to foul Derrick White rather than give the Spurs a chance to make a three-pointer to tie the game. White made the first free throw then purposely missed the second, but Westbrook grabbed the rebound to seal the win.

Ben McLemore added 17 points for the Rockets, with Capela posting 15 points and 15 rebounds. Tucker grabbed 11 rebounds for Houston, and Westbrook corralled 10 boards.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Forbes scored 18 points, all in the first half on six three-pointers, while Dejounte Murray and White scored 16 points each. Gay and DeMar DeRozan each hit for 12. Gay also had 12 rebounds.

In the first half, Forbes was six for six from beyond the arc and led the Spurs with 18 points, with Murray adding 14 and Aldridge hitting for 13. San Antonio went 27 for 47 (57.4 per cent) from the field in the first half and 10 of 17 from three-point range.

Houston made just 11 of 43 three-point shots (25.6 per cent) for the game.

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