After blowing a big lead in the fourth quarter in record-breaking fashion in Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference semifinal playoffs, the Houston Rockets began Game 3 as if they wanted to avoid the rush.
Then they overcame a lead themselves, getting 31 of Vernon Maxwell's 34 points in the second half Friday and 26 points and 15 rebounds from Hakeem Olajuwon in a 118-102 victory at Phoenix to cut the Suns' lead in the series to 2-1.
Houston had blown a 20-point fourth-quarter lead in losing Game 2, then fell behind, 29-15, in the first quarter Friday, 49-41 in the first half.
But Maxwell had 15 points in the third quarter and added 16 more in the fourth, including a three-pointer with 1:51 to play that gave the Rockets a 112-102 lead after Phoenix twice cut its deficit to seven points on three-pointers by A.C. Green and Kevin Johnson.
Olajuwon then grabbed a loose ball under the Suns basket and fed a driving Maxwell for a layup that put the game out of reach.
Game 4 of the series is Sunday afternoon.
Otis Thorpe scored 16 points, helping the Rockets fend off a 38-point effort by Johnson, who had 26 of those points in a second-half shootout with Maxwell.
Charles Barkley had 18 points for the Suns.