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01/09/2013 11:57 PM EST
Mason, Hornets beat Rockets, win 3rd straight
NEW ORLEANS 88, HOUSTON 79

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Roger Mason understands playing time is
fleeting, especially as a role player, so the New Orleans
Hornets guard stays prepared for when he gets the call.



Mason scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday
night to rally the Hornets to an 88-79 victory over the Houston
Rockets.



Mason, who played 26 seconds in the first half and did not play
in a victory over San Antonio on Monday, made all five of his
shots in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers for the
Hornets, who have won three in the row for the first time this
season.



"I just keep working, staying in the game, and I feel good,"
said Mason, who averages just over five points.



"I didn't play much in the first half but to be a good pro you
have to always be ready," he added. "God gave me the strength to
hit some good shots."



Greivis Vasquez and Jason Smith also scored 17 points for the
Hornets, and Robin Lopez chipped in with 14.



James Harden scored 25 points for the Rockets, who had won 10 of
their past 12 games and five in a row. Harden, who was held to
three points in the final quarter when the Rockets were
outscored 29-10, was the only Houston player in double figures.



Jeremy Lin scored nine points on 4-of-12 shooting and have five
assists for the Rockets, who committed 23 turnovers.



New Orleans also controlled the boards, outrebounding Houston
46-39, 16-10 on the offensive glass. Al-Farouq Aminu and Smith
each had 10 rebounds.



"Any time a team gets that many offensive rebounds it's going to
be hard to run," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "We were not
sharp tonight. We couldn't get anything going in that fourth
quarter and it just ballooned from there."



Eric Gordon struggled with five points on 2-of-12 shooting, but
the Hornets have won four of five since his return.



Ryan Anderson, New Orleans' 3-point specialist, was 0 of 7 from
the field, including 0 of 4 from behind the arc.



No. 1 pick Anthony Davis, who along with Lopez did not play in
the fourth quarter, had six points and three rebounds.



"It was difficult to get (Lopez) in there with (the Rockets)
playing their small bigs," Hornets coach Monty Williams said,
adding that he kept his bench players in because of their
performance.



The Hornets trailed 69-59 after three quarters but behind
Mason's shooting went on a 22-2 run to take an 81-71 lead with
4:14 remaining.



At one point Mason had scored nine points in a 17-2 Hornets run.
The Rockets missed their first four shots of the quarter and
made one of their first 12.



"They did a good job of blocking the paint and really making it
tough on us," Lin said. "We didn't do a good job of finding that
open man and making that open pass, me included. I'm the point
guard and that starts with me."



The Hornets, who were 1-19 when trailing after three quarters,
made 10 of their first 13 shots in the fourth quarter. The
Rockets' 10 points were the lowest total New Orleans allowed in
a quarter this season.



Gordon and Vasquez sat out for much of the fourth quarter and
Davis and Lopez did not play in the final period.



Harden was 1 of 4 in the fourth quarter.



Harden scored 15 points to stake the Rockets to a 36-34 halftime
lead.



New Orleans made seven of its first 12 shots to take an early
lead but struggled from the field the rest of the half. The
Hornets led 16-10 midway through the first quarter when Williams
gave Austin Rivers, Davis and Gordon a break.



With New Orleans' scoring trio on the bench, the Rockets closed
on a 12-2 run to take a 22-18 lead. Harden, who missed his first
two shots, made three of his last five to finish the quarter
with nine points.



Notes: The Hornets are 10-11 when holding opponents to less than
100 points. . .New Orleans completed a three-game sweep of Texas
teams, winning at Dallas this past Saturday and coming home to
knock off San Antonio and Houston. . .The Hornets are on a
three-game win streak for the first time since last April.

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