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Fear the Beard: Harden aims for encore versus Suns

Mar 21, 2015 - 12:28 PM ( - James Harden shoots for an encore performance when the Houston Rockets close out a three-game homestand Saturday versus the Phoenix Suns at the Toyota Center.

Harden poured in a career-best 50 points on 12-of-27 shooting in a 118-108 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. Harden made 22 of his 25 foul shots and grabbed 10 rebounds in 40 minutes. He is averaging 28.6 ppg in his last seven games.

"I was just one of those nights where he had good energy and he was driving hard," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.

Trevor Ariza scored 17 points and Josh Smith added 12 off the bench for the Rockets, who have won three in a row and 10 of their last 14 games. The Rockets are third in the Western Conference standings and 1 1/2 games behind Memphis for the Southwest lead.

The Rockets have won three in a row at home and are 8-1 in the last nine games in Space City. They have a 26-9 mark at the Toyota Center.

After hosting the Suns, Houston will play Indiana and New Orleans on the road.

Rockets forward Terrence Jones will miss at least a week after being diagnosed with a partially collapsed lung. Jones sustained the injury when taking a shot to his ribs during the first quarter against Denver.

It's the second significant injury that Jones has suffered this season. The third-year pro was sidelined nearly three months with a nerve issue in his left leg before returning to the court in late January.

Jones had been playing very well recently for the Rockets, averaging 15.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and shooting 55.6 percent from the field over his last 11 games. The Kentucky product had 10 points in just nine minutes prior to exiting Thursday's win.

In 25 overall games this season, Jones has averaged 12.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Guard Jason Terry (hamstring) is questionable versus Phoenix.

The Suns are three games off the eighth seed in the West and will depart Arizona briefly to visit the Rockets.

Phoenix went 3-2 on a recent homestand, which culminated with Thursday's 74-72 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Markieff Morris scored 17 points, Brandan Wright netted 16 with eight boards and seven blocks, and P.J. Tucker collected 12 points and 12 rebounds in the win.

The Suns survived despite shooting 34.9 percent for the game and didn't have to deal with Pelicans star Anthony Davis, who rolled his ankle in warmups.

Marcus Morris pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds for Phoenix.

After visiting Houston, the Suns, who are 16-18 on the road and have won three of four games, will start a four-game homestand Sunday versus Dallas, Sacramento, Portland and Oklahoma City.

Phoenix is 0-3 against Houston this season and winless in five straight meetings between the teams. The Rockets are 4-1 in the last five games as the host versus the Suns.