Dragic recorded just one assist in a 107-105 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday, but that pass was an energizer midway through the fourth quarter that put Phoenix in position to win.
With 5:57 left in the fourth quarter, Dragic dived for a loose ball and got it to teammate Kendall Marshall, who banked in a long jumper as the shot clock buzzer sounded for a 93-86 lead.
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Dragic also scored 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter against his former team, and the Suns overcame 38 points from Rockets star James Harden and Houston's 19 3-pointers.
"They defended me well. I couldn't find the open guy. Even if I found the open guy, they were closing and contesting the shots," Dragic said. "I know that I had only one assist, but that was one of the best assists ever. Kendall made a crazy shot."
Phoenix, far out of playoff contention, has three straight wins over the postseason-hopeful Rockets and is 10-3 in the last 13 meetings.
Harden brought the Rockets back with a 3-pointer with 5:25 to play, followed by a basket and free throw to make it 93-92. But Dragic made back-to-back baskets for 97-92 lead, and the Suns gave up a last-second 3 for the final margin of victory.
"We can't look at the Phoenix Suns and their roster," Harden said. "We've got to go out there and compete and play hard every possession. Times like this, we need wins. We just let another one slip away from us."
Jared Dudley scored 22 points and the Suns, missing injured starting center Marcin Gortat, got an unlikely solid contribution from reserve Hamed Haddadi. He played 28 minutes, scored six points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots, all either setting or tying season highs.
"Haddadi was a great neutralizer for us," Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said.
"No excuses. They played better than us," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "Goran down the stretch made some big plays.There is a lot of stuff we didn't do. We will look at what we didn't do."
The teams exchanged leads late in the third quarter after Harden's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:29 left gave the Rockets a 62-61 advantage. Marcus Morris dunked for a 72-69 lead at the 1:54 mark, but Harden hit another 3 with 56 seconds left for a 74-72 Houston lead.
Harden scored 25 points in the second half.
Michael Beasley's 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the third gave the Suns the lead going into the fourth quarter, 77-76.
The Suns (22-41) used a 16-0 second-quarter run that spanned 5 minutes, 40 seconds to take a 50-46 halftime lead. During the run, Dudley gave the Suns their first lead at 37-35 with a short jumper.
Back-to-back 3s by Dudley made it 45-35, and it wasn't until Parsons made a free throw for Houston with 3:17 left in the quarter that the run ended.
The Rockets led by as many as eight points in the first quarter. The teams face each other three more times before the regular season ends in mid-April.
|Goran Dragic comes up big in the fourth quarter with 13 points to lead Phoenix to a home win over the Rockets. (Getty Images)|
|Phoenix (22-41) «||24||26||27||30||107|
|HOU:J. Harden 38 Pts
HOU:O. Asik 16 Reb
HOU:J. Harden 8 Ast
|PHO:J. Dudley 22 Pts
PHO:H. Haddadi 11 Reb
PHO:J. Dudley 7 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|J. Harden, SG||42||11-17||9-12||5||8||3||38|
|O. Asik, C||38||2-6||0-0||16||0||3||4|
|C. Parsons, SF||35||5-16||1-3||1||2||1||14|
|J. Lin, PG||31||4-9||2-2||1||4||6||11|
|D. Motiejunas, PF||18||3-7||0-0||3||0||5||8|
|C. Delfino, SG||29||8-15||0-0||5||1||1||21|
|P. Beverley, PG||17||0-4||0-0||3||5||1||0|
|F. Garcia, SG||13||2-7||0-0||1||2||1||5|
|G. Smith, PF||9||2-4||0-1||2||0||2||4|
|T. Robinson, PF||8||0-1||0-0||2||0||1||0|
|A. Brooks, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. Anderson, SG||Did Not Play|
|T. Jones, PF||Did Not Play|
|R. White, PF||Did Not Play|
|T. Ohlbrecht, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|G. Dragic, PG||29||6-13||6-8||3||1||1||18|
|M. Morris, PF||24||4-8||1-4||4||0||3||9|
|M. Morris, PF||19||3-7||7-8||5||0||3||14|
|L. Scola, PF||16||1-6||4-5||4||2||1||6|
|W. Johnson, SF||15||2-7||0-0||1||1||3||5|
|J. Dudley, SF||33||8-12||3-4||3||7||1||22|
|K. Marshall, PG||29||3-7||1-2||2||4||0||9|
|H. Haddadi, C||28||3-7||0-4||11||0||3||6|
|M. Beasley, PF||24||4-7||1-2||4||2||1||10|
|P. Tucker, SG||22||3-8||2-2||10||1||4||8|
|J. O'Neal, C||Did Not Play|
|C. Frye, C||Did Not Play|
|M. Gortat, PF||Did Not Play|
|S. Brown, PG||Did Not Play|
|D. Garrett, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|