Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard had another successful trip
back to Orlando, scoring 19 points with 13 rebounds Wednesday night to help
the Houston Rockets beat the Magic 101-89.
James Harden led Houston with 31 points, Chandler Parsons scored 15 of his 19
in the second quarter and Terrence Jones chipped in 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The Rockets trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half but dominated
the second half to win their third in a row and move to 13-2 over their last
Arron Afflalo led the short-handed Magic with 18 points and Nikola Vucevic and
Maurice Harkless scored 15 apiece. Orlando had a two-game home winning streak
snapped, falling for just the second time in their last nine at Amway Center.
Victor Oladipo (sore left ankle) missed the game for Orlando on the day he was
named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for February. Point guard Jameer
Nelson (illness) was out for the second straight game.
Last March 12, Howard returned to play the Magic as an opponent for the first
time and led the Lakers to a 106-97 win over his former team, scoring a
season-high 39 points and tying his own NBA record with 39 free-throw
Fans jeered every time he stepped to the foul line and cheered each time he
missed -- 14 in all.
They booed again Wednesday night when the Magic showed a video tribute to
Howard as part of their 25th anniversary celebration and when the center's
name was called during pre-game introductions.
The Rockets took their first lead since 8-6 with an 8-0 run to open the second
half. Harden hit a 3 during the burst and the teams went back-and-forth until
an 11-0 run by the Rockets to end the quarter gave them a 75-65 lead.
Howard had an alley-oop dunk during that run and Harden scored the last seven
Orlando trimmed its deficit to three in the fourth quarter but Houston scored
seven in a row to remain in front and went up by as many as 14.
Earlier, the Magic shot better than 60 percent in the first quarter and took a
32-19 lead on E'Twaun Moore's fall-away one-hander at the buzzer.
Parsons scored 15 in the second quarter for the Rockets, including nine during
a 12-2 run that cut their deficit from 14 to four. Orlando shot under 30
percent in the quarter and took a 48-41 lead into halftime.
The Rockets have won four straight in the series, including the first meeting
this season, a 98-88 victory on Dec. 8 in Houston ... Houston will play
Indiana at home on Friday ... The Magic play at San Antonio on Saturday.
The Sports Network