HOUSTON – Dwight Howard scored 23 points, Terrence Jones had 21 and the Houston Rockets held on for a 97-90 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

The Rockets trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half before scoring 33 in the third quarter to go on top. San Antonio used an 11-3 spurt to cut Houston’s lead to two in the final minutes, but Howard and Jeremy Lin helped the Rockets prevail.

“We just kept grinding it out,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “We changed a couple of things defensively and the guys kind of dug in and got stops.”

Houston has won all three meetings with Southwest Division-leading San Antonio this season.

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Boris Diaw of the Spurs scored a season-high 22 points and had 11 rebounds.

The Rockets were without leading scorer James Harden (bruised left thumb), who is averaging 23.7 points per game. But Jones stepped up in his absence and Lin had 18 points and eight assists while starting in Harden’s spot.

Knicks rout Boston

NEW YORK – Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes, and New York avenged an embarrassing home loss with a rout of its own, beating the Boston Celtics 114-88 for its third straight victory.

The Knicks lost by 41 points the last time the Celtics came to Madison Square Garden but led this one by 35.


Zach Randolph, a former Trail Blazer, scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 98-81 victory in Portland.

David West scored 19 points as league-leading Indiana beat the Lakers 104-92 in Los Angeles.

• Standout Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is expected to miss the Feb. 16 All-Star Game because of continued pain and swelling in his injured left knee.

Team officials said Bryant will be out for at least three more weeks before he is re-examined.

• Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City is on a roll entering Wednesday’s game in Miami against the two-time defending champion Heat and superstar LeBron James.

Ex-Sonic Durant has scored at least 30 points in his last 11 games, averaging 38.5 during that span.

“There’s nobody that can guard him one-on-one,” James said.