Brooks leads Rockets over SunsMar 7, 2009 - 6:03 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Aaron Brooks scored a career-high 30 points in his duel with Steve Nash, coming up with the winning scoop shot over Shaquille O'Neal as the Houston Rockets held off the Phoenix Suns, 116-112, on Friday.
Ron Artest added 21 points for the Rockets, who improved to 9-2 without Tracy McGrady.
After Nash tied the game with 30.5 ticks left, Brooks snapped the 112-112 game by driving to his right and flipping a shot off the glass before O'Neal could get to it.
"I barely got past Shaq and laid it in," Brooks said. "We didn't have many options with seven seconds left. I didn't want (Nash) to score on me and not make him play defense. You're not going to get Nash tired. He's a phenomenal athlete."
Nash, who finished with 32 points and 13 assists, missed a game-tying three, which was rebounded by Artest with three-tenths of a second left. The Canadian point guard tried to loft his attempt over the outstretched arm of the 7-6 Yao.
"I had a good look at it (final shot)," Nash said. "It was straight on, and I didn't know if I would get a better look. To be honest, I was struggling with my ankle in the first half. I just couldn't get any lift off. I was moving poorly in the second half and I just tried to fight through it.
"I made little adjustments shooting the ball, to be a little more deliberate, because I didn't have pop."
It was a back-and-forth contest in the final 1:05, when Artest hit a fadeway to make it 110-106. The Suns, however, would not die.
Barbosa immediately responded with a three to pull Phoenix within one before Brooks hit a difficult floater in the lane - despite his progress being severely impeded by Matt Barnes - with 41 seconds left.
With the lead at three, Nash responded with the aforementioned tying shot from the arc to set the stage for Brooks' clutch shot.
O'Neal had 17 points and five rebounds for Phoenix, which led the game just once, 2-1, in the opening minutes of the game.
The Suns scored over 100 points for the 10th time in 11 games since Alvin Gentry took over for the fired Terry Porter, who refused to institute a run-and-gun attack.
"We got the pace of the game where we wanted it, up tempo," Gentry said. "Houston likes to play that way, too."
The team hopes it yields results, as Phoenix (34-28) remains in the ninth spot in the Western standings - three games behind the Dallas Mavericks (37-25).
HOUSTON 114 FINAL
Mar 6 11:00 PM
HOUSTON 81 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 6 10:19 PM
HOUSTON 56 HALFTIME
Mar 6 9:38 PM
HOUSTON 23 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 6 9:07 PM
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