Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball scored 27 points each as the host New Orleans Pelicans defeated the short-handed Houston Rockets 127-112 on Sunday night.
Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore added 25 each and Derrick Favors had 12 points and 16 rebounds as the Pelicans won for the fifth time in six games. They outscored the Rockets 41-19 in the fourth quarter.
The Rockets played without James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Coach Mike D’Antoni said Harden, averaging a league-best 38.3 points, could have played but was held out to rest a sprained toe and a sore knee. Westbrook was inactive on the back end of a back-to-back after host Houston beat New Jersey 108-98 on Saturday.
Danuel House Jr. scored 22 points, Eric Gordon added 20, Isaiah Hartenstein had 19 points and nine rebounds, Chris Clemons had 16 points and nine assists, and Ben McLemore scored 12 to lead the Rockets.
The score was tied at halftime and the Rockets scored the first seven points of the third quarter. They held an eight-point lead before the Pelicans made a push late in the quarter.
Ball and Ingram each made a 3-pointer as New Orleans closed within 88-86 after trailing 84-76 with three minutes to go in the third.
P.J. Tucker made a layup and Chris Clemons hit a 3-pointer as Houston took a 93-86 lead at the end of the quarter.
Gordon’s layup started the fourth-quarter scoring and pushed the lead to nine before the Pelicans came back.
Moore scored 11 points during a 15-0 run that gave New Orleans a 104-96 lead.
Hartenstein’s layup ended the Rockets’ drought, but Holiday made two baskets as the Pelicans took a 109-100 lead halfway through the fourth.
Houston twice closed within seven from there, but Holiday, Ball and Ingram all made 3-pointers to put New Orleans in command, 123-106, with two minutes left.
Ball made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first quarter, but the Rockets made eight 3-pointers and held a 37-36 lead at the end of the period.
Houston made just 4 of 13 3-pointers in the second quarter and New Orleans got productivity off the bench as Moore scored seven and Jahlil Okafor added six in the period as the first half ended with the score tied at 64.
—Field Level Media