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Originally published Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 8:37 PM

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Lee scores 25 in Rockets' 104-87 win over Kings

Courtney Lee scored 19 of his 25 points in the first half, leading the Houston Rockets to a 104-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.

The Associated Press

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. —

Courtney Lee scored 19 of his 25 points in the first half, leading the Houston Rockets to a 104-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.

Goran Dragic had 15 points and nine assists, Chase Budinger also scored 15 and Luis Scola added 13 points and eight rebounds as Houston won its third straight and fourth of the last five. Patrick Patterson had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Rockets, sixth in the Western Conference, moved one-half game ahead of defending champion Dallas.

Terrence Williams had a season-high 21 points and eight rebounds for the Kings, losers of four straight and nine of 11. Rookie guard Jimmer Fredette, making his seventh start, made three 3-pointers and finished with 17 points in a season-high 37 minutes, and Isaiah Thomas added 16 points.

Houston led by 22 points in the third quarter before the Kings cut the margin to 10 entering the fourth. However, the Rockets pulled away again as Budinger, who had 10 points in the final quarter, made a runner and followed with a 3-pointer to put Houston ahead 93-74 with 4:02 remaining.

Rockets starting point guard Kyle Lowry came off the bench in the first quarter, playing for the first time in a month after missing 15 straight games due to a bacterial infection that required hospitalization. Lowry had one point and seven assists in 18 minutes.

Houston entered the game well rested, playing just twice over the previous seven days. Both were significant wins as the Rockets beat East-leading Chicago on the road and the visiting Lakers on Friday.

The slumping Kings committed 12 turnovers in the first half and finished with 21.

Quiet in the first half, Scola made three jumpers early in the third quarter. A three-point play by Parsons put the Rockets ahead 69-47, their biggest lead of the game.

But the Kings quickly recovered. Switching to a zone defense with four reserves, and benefitting from the shot-altering capability of backup center Hassan Whiteside, the Kings ran off nine straight points and closed the quarter with a 16-4 run to pull to 73-63 heading into the fourth.

Houston led by 11 points after the first quarter and took a 58-43 lead into the break. Lee got going early, scoring 17 points in the first quarter when he made 7 of 8 shots, including all three 3-point attempts.

NOTES: Ex-King Kevin Martin, Houston's leading scorer, is still nursing a shoulder injury and missed his 13th straight game. ... Houston shot 61 percent in the first quarter when it led 32-21. ... Kings F John Salmons has missed the last eight games with a sore hip and teammate Marcus Thornton has been out the last four with a bruised left calf. ... The Kings made 20 of 37 free throws.

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