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Barkley, Houston Blasts Suns

Everywhere the Phoenix Suns turned, Charles Barkley was there to greet them. And defeat them.

Barkley scored 12 of his season-high 35 points in a rugged fourth quarter and had the first six points of overtime to lead the Houston Rockets to a 103-93 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

"I just had a good night," Barkley said. "Dream (Hakeem Olajuwon) had a good night and Scottie (Pippen) had a good night. Everybody has to step up at some point. Tonight everybody did something."

The Rockets outscored the Suns 12-2 in overtime.

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  • "I had to bring him (Charles) back earlier in the third quarter than I wanted, but we were getting a little stagnant," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "He just came in and did it all, scored, played defense, got rebounds."

    Barkley also had 18 rebounds, two short of his season-high. Hakeem Olajuwon had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

    "We started playing much better defense the last five minutes of the game and going into overtime," Pippen said. "It's pretty hard to defense this team because they have so much movement. Charles had a tremendous game."

    After a basket by Tom Gugliotta with 2:14 to go in overtime, Pippen hit a free throw with 1:27 left and a big 3-point basket with 56 seconds showing to keep the Rockets ahead.

    "In overtime, it was kind of pick your poison, ether let them post up or shoot the threes," Suns coach Danny Ainge said. "You really have to give credit to the team we were playing."

    Gugliotta led the Suns with 22 points and nine rebounds. Cliff Robinson, added 17 and Jason Kidd had 14 points and 15 assists.

    It didn't take the Rockets long to lose their hard-fought 49-46 halftime lead. The Suns opened the second half with a 22-11 run that gave them a 68-60 lead with 4:02 left. They were led by Robinsn, who had eight points in the period.

    Houston shot only 7-of-23 in the quarter and trailed 77-68 going into the fourth quarter.

    Barkley came back with a big fourth quarter but couldn't prevent overtime. The Rockets led 91-88 with 1:31 to play, but Robinson got a goal-tending basket from Olajuwon and Kidd sank the second of two free throws to tie the score at 91-all with 18.9 seconds to go.

    "Barkley hit big shots and did a good job for Houston and he put us back on our heels," Robinson said. "Houston is a tough team but I thought we did some things against them offensively. Houston just did some things down the stretch and we didn't."

    Notes: Hakeem Olajuwon has nine steals in the last three games. ... The Suns have a better road record (7-6) than home record (5-7). ... Jason Kidd ranks 24th on the all-time list with 24 triple doubles.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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