PHOENIX (AP) — Patrick Beverley knew much more would be expected of him with his Houston Rockets missing James Harden on Sunday night.
That motivated the veteran guard to play well, which Beverley did in the Rockets' 123-116 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Beverley scored a career-high 26 points and the Rockets sent the Suns to their 12th straight loss without Harden in the lineup. Harden was ruled out with acute viral syndrome, the team announced before the game. He had not missed a game all season and entered Sunday tied for second in the league in scoring at 29.2 points per game.
"Coach walked up to me (and said), 'We need a triple-double out of you tonight," Beverley said of the conversation with Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni, who told him Harden was out. "I know I'm not even close to what James Harden is, but I just try to go out and try to lead these guys by example."
Beverley, who added nine assists and eight rebounds, played despite a sore right ankle and scored 11 of his points in the third quarter. Lou Williams scored 16 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, and Troy Williams, called up from the D-League early Sunday, scored 18 of his career-high 21 points in the first half.
Troy Williams, who last appeared in an NBA game on Dec. 16 with Memphis, shot 5 of 7 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes.
The Rockets became the first NBA team to make at least 1,100 3s in a season. They surpassed that mark with 14 on Sunday.
Ulis, a rookie, added nine rebounds and nine assists, and Devin Booker scored 27 for the Suns.