HOUSTON, April 12 (Xinhua) -- The Houston Rockets came from behind in the final quarter to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 111-104 on Saturday, avoiding a three-game losing streak.
The Rockets had lost two games in a row and needed a victory to maintain their spot in the Western Conference standings with the postseason just days away.
They started rather slow, however, in the first half, and trailed by as many as 15 points.
The Rockets began to find their offensive tempo in the third quarter but still couldn't cut the double-digit deficit, because the Pelicans didn't relent their efforts.
It was only in the fourth quarter that the Rockets had a few spurts, narrowed the gap and eventually overtook the Pelicans with minutes remaining.
Dwight Howard and Pat Beverley, who each missed the last eight games -- Howard with a strained ankle and Beverley with torn meniscus, gave Houston a boost in their return to the court.
James Harden led the Rockets with 33 points and 13 assists. Howard added 13 points and six rebounds. Beverly had 20 points and four assists.
Luke Babbitt finished with a career-high 24 points for New Orleans as the team dropped its eighth straight. Austin Rivers had a season-high 20 points with 10 rebounds and six assists while Anthony Morrow also had 20 points.
The win helped Houston to stay ahead of Portland in fourth place in the West.