HOUSTON -- Forward Chandler Parsons scored on a late putback of his own miss and the Houston Rockets closed with a hot shooting surge to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-98 on Saturday night at the Toyota Center.
Rockets center Dwight Howard paced Houston (21-11) with 24 points and 18 rebounds. Parsons added 19 points and seven rebounds.
A sudden splurge from deep enabled the Rockets to seize the lead with 3:14 left and answer a Pelicans run that knocked Houston on its heels. New Orleans scored eight consecutive points after the Rockets pushed in front 86-82, its last basket coming on an Anthony Davis dunk.
And after Davis added an alley-oop dunk that put the Pelicans up 92-88, the Rockets answered with three successive three-point possessions.
Houston forward Terrence Jones scored through a foul on a driving layup and converted the free throw before point guard Jeremy Lin and guard James Harden drilled back-to-back 3s, the latter pushing the the Rockets' lead to 97-94 with 3:14 left.
After missing 19 of their first 22 3-point shots, the Rockets hit 3 of 4 to retake the lead for good. Harden scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Davis (18 points, 16 rebounds) posted double-doubles. Evans had 16 points and nine assists off the bench for New Orleans (13-15).
A non-factor because of foul difficulties two nights earlier against the Memphis Grizzlies, Howard staked the Rockets to a double-digit lead with a monster first quarter, posting 10 points and eight boards as Houston managed an 11-point lead before the Pelicans' bench rallied.
Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans, who entered on a torrid stretch of statistical brilliance, sparked the comeback early in the second quarter before Anderson warmed up later in the quarter. When Anderson buried a 3-pointer in the waning moments of the half, New Orleans pulled even at 52.
Anderson, 1 of 5 from behind the arc in the first quarter, closed the half with 14 points.
NOTES: Pelicans reserve G Tyreke Evans has been scorching of late, averaging 19.0 points, 9.5 assists and 8.0 rebounds in his last four games. What has caught the eye of New Orleans coach Monty Williams is Evans' defense against a string of capable scorers. "To me, his defense has been what's helped us win," Williams said. "If he can continue to defend that way, it helps him get out and get easier buckets, and then it gives him more confidence to score." ... Pelicans G Eric Gordon missed his second consecutive game with a right hip contusion. ... Count Rockets coach Kevin McHale among the fans of New Orleans second-year C Anthony Davis, who, according to McHale, has made strides offensively simply by working hard. "He does most of it on his own and (it's) repeatable what he does," McHale said. "Roll hard every single time, run hard every single time, go to the offensive glass every single time. He gets most of his stuff like that."