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Harden has a good point. Magic scored 32 points on 60.9 % shooting w/ 1 to in 1st quarter; 57 ps on 39.3 % shooting w 16 tos rest of way.
James Harden scored 25 in 2nd half, but when asked what changed from early-season losses in similar games, said, "Our defense."
Pat Beverley ' nose was broken. Will be fitted for mask tomorrow.
Starters dominate 2nd half, take Rockets to 101-89 win in the latest in series of games won that would have been losses early this season.
FINAL: Rockets 101, Magic 89. Rockets rebound from horrible start as Harden (31 points) puts Orlando away in the second half.
Harden with 25 points in the second half to help HOU overcome slow start, knock off Magic 101-89. Now 42-19 on the season. Indy up next.
James Harden scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half. He was 4-5 from the field for 11 points in the fourth quarter.
I feel good about this win, despite the start. ORL had won 7 of last 8 at home, beat IND, OKC here. Could have rolled over, but they didn't.
Awfully special second half for Harden tonight. His herky-jerky moves & subtle shifts of speed have flummoxed Orlando's perimeter defenders.
Via Bill & Bull: Terrence Jones (15pts-10reb) has a double-double for the third straight game, the first time in his career he's done that.
Rockets bench with 11 points tonight and that's with Magic short-handed without Nelson, Oladilpo.
Rockets immediately hit Magic with 7-0, 2 min run when starters return. For 2nd-consecutive game, Rox seem to have given up bench for lent.
Meanwhile, Terrence Jones having himself a heck of a 2nd half. He, Harden and Howard carrying the load now as HOU back up by 10.
After Orlando cut it to three, McHale went back to the starters and it's an immediate 7-0 Houston run. 86-76 Rockets, 5:37 left.
Sure is nice to have superstars, example No. 1,432: Harden w/ 2 ridiculously high degree of difficulty makes to help HOU reestablish cushion
Kyle O'Quinn absolutely stuffs Howard jump hook. Crowd goes pretty nuts over that one.
With Magic within 3, Rockets starters all back in, 7:32 lweft. Rockets come up empty on five consecutive possessions.
I take it back. Looked like Harden was set to check in, but he and Howard remain on bench with 8:50 still left.
Well, so much for putting this one away. Magic back within 5. McHale looks like he can't believe it as he takes time out. Harden returning.
Rockets open fourth with Parsons and bench. They ought to be able to put this away before Harden, Howard would be due to return.
Rockets 75, Magic 65 after 3. Scored final 11 of third quarter, shot 61.9 % in quarter.
Harden, Howard combined for 2 in second quarter, 25 in third quarter. Rockets are better when they play well.
Since first quarter of yuck, Rockets have asserted their superiority. Outscored Orlando by 23 in periods 2 & 3, lead is 10 heading to 4Q.
Bill Worrell just said that Omer Asik got a "flat tire" going up for that layup, but has Asik ever really had inflated tires?
Dwight Howard has 11 points, 5 rebounds in this quarter alone (18 & 10 for the game). 68-65 Rockets, 2:20 left 3Q.
Not that this game will get in any of the highlights, but if it did, TJones crossover on Tobias Harris should be first up.
Rockets defending much better than they were early, but when you let a team pour it on for so long, it's tough to turn it off.
Terrence Jones just gave Tobias Harris the Mario Chalmers treatment. Goodness.
Howard has 9 pts, 5 boards in 3Q, 16 & 10 overall. Rockets with 38-18 edge in paint points.
Lin left the bench for awhile with heat on his back, but has returned. Seemed fine at halftime.
Things you see from teams that are 19-43: Three absolutely brutal 3-on-1 or 4-on-1 fast breaks that net a grand total of 0 points.
Not quite the athlete representation of last night, but still pretty good: Grant Hill, Jason Williams, Jon Singleton, Dexter Fowler here.
Rockets score first eight points of second half to finally regain the lead. That undoes the damage of most of first half. D picked up a lot.
That didn't take long. Rox need less than 2 minutes to erase Magic lead. Starting with continued good D, translating into quality looks on O
This is a 16-3 Rockets run by the starters since the end of the second quarter. The lead is now Houston's, 49-48.
It's not just that the Rockets need to take this one to avoid canceling out the win vs. Miami: have Ind, Por, @ OKC, @ Chi, @ Miami up next.
Calvin Murphy unhappy w/13 t-overs: "If I'm (coaching) in the locker room, I'm losing friends, losing paychecks & I'm fighting some people."
Rockets, 0-6 when making fewer than 40 % of shots, hitting 39.5 % at half. They're 4-12 when scoring fewer than 100, have 41.
On the bright side, after that blistering 1st quarter, Rockets held Orlando to 7-24 (29.2%) shooting and just 16 points in the 2nd quarter.
Magic 48, Rockets 41 at half. Pretty lousy half for Rockets on both ends. The 13 tos stand out most, but really doing almost nothing well.
Saving grace for HOU was obviously CP. Taking a ton of shots, but making more than a few as well on way to 15-point 2Q.
Starters finally wake up. 8-3 Rocket run to close half makes it 48-41 Orlando. Parsons has 15 to lead the Rockets. 13 turnovers the killer.
Rockets turn it over 13 times in first half, shoot poorly and look out of sync offensively. Fortunate to head to half down just 7.
Beverley popped in the nose by Harris elbow. Rockets having trouble stopping the bleeding, but he'll stay in for final minute.
Harkless and Howard get tangled up, hit with double Ts. Barely touched each other.
Terrible offensive performance from Rockets. Terrible ball movement leading to terrible shooting (37.8 %) and usual turnovers (13).
Pretty much the polar opposite of what we saw last night. Against Miami, HOU's starting 5 dominated. Tonight, not so much. Magic back up 10.
Starters were brilliant last night. Tonight they are getting torched. 43-33 Magic, 2:47 left in the half.
Motiejunas back on Rockets bench. Seems OK.
After going scoreless in 1Q, Chandler Parsons is cooking here in the second. Nine points in the period in fewer than 6 minutes.
Would have liked to have seen Oladipo tonight. Just got rookie of the month and will be on the Rockets in about five years.
Motiejunas was smacked inadvertantly by Doron Lamb. Rockets had to foul to stop the play. D-Mo walking very slowly to locker room.
Lin has repeatedly gotten into lane then stopped to look to pass. He cannot play tentatively. Has struggled lately, but must keep attacking.
Jordan Hamilton has been a one-man fast-break stopper here in 2Q. Two absolutely huge plays to prevent 4 easy ORL points.
Rockets showing some signs of life against very shaky Orlando bench. Hamilton energy, big-time blocked shot, provided needed lift.
Since that incredible Hamilton block, Rockets have rolled off 8 straight points. Bench off to good start after last night's no-show.
Rox off. rebounding has been terrific. And they'll live with Orlando's midrange FGs all night. Maybe Hamilton block will ignite other areas.
Boos for the Dwight Howard video tribute. Welcome back, Dwight. He's watching.
Magic came into tonight with the 26th-ranked offense. So naturally they shoot 61% on way to 32-19 1Q edge. HOU 7 turnovers, 0-4 from deep.
Rough first quarter as Rockets trail 32-19. 7 turnovers (4 by Dwight) and Magic shot 61%. Harden has 6 to lead Rockets.
Magic 32, Rockets 19 after 1. Rockets had scored 30 in 1st quarter of 10 of 13 games. Magic shoot 60.9 %, Rockets commit 7 turnovers.
Magic shooting 75& overall and an absolutely absurd 7-of-8 from midrange. Going out on a limb and saying regression to the mean on the way.
Rockets six turnovers of course hurting, but Magic getting anything they want on offensive end, hitting 70.6 %.
As mentioned this morning, bench will have to show up tonight for second game of back-to-back. Asik, Hamilton in, Lin coming in next.
Right now Orlando isn't missing much. They're 11-15 from the field. Rockets trail 24-13. Asik checks in for that reason.
These are not the usual Rockets turnovers, but then, they do commit every kind.. This is from playing slow, being indecisive in halfcourt.
Far too early to say if Rox succumbing to trap game, but no doubt whatsoever that they're succumbing to TOs early on; 5 TOs in first 5 mins.
Rockets down 4, their largest deficit since Feb. 26. Kind of goes without saying again, but turnovers a bit of an issue. On pace for 48.
Dwight opens with a blocked shot and a dunk. Fans lost interest in booing him already.
Boos for Howard in introductions. Really wonder about that video tribute idea. They are fond of local boy Chandler Parsons, here, however.
Dwight: "Time heals all wounds. I’ve forgiven people I needed to forgive. Hopefully the fans will forgive me for how the situation ended."
Told of the video tribute planned, Howard said he "might get a little emotional. I had some great moments here, ones I'll never forget."
Howard and Lin were listed as day-to-day, but both came through last night's game, travel OK, warmed up and are good to go.
McHale said Lin's back has bothered him "a little bit" in slide. "Sometimes you go through stretches you don't as play well. He'll get it."
Parsons: "I'd probably boo him. That's what makes playing on the road so fun. Any time someone leaves a team, you're going to be upset."
Parsons' family bought season tickets as soon as they were available 25 years ago. Used to park at his orthodontist's office, walk to games.
Lifelong Magic fan Chandler Parsons said if he were still a kid in the stands, would boo Dwight Howard tonight, too. (He let T-Mac slide.)
I'm told the phone changed Jameer to James. You should see what it wanted to do to Oladipo.
Vic Oladipo and James Nelson out for Magic. Afflalo back after missing past five games. Ronnie Price starts at point.
Magic will show a video thanking Dwight Howard, Joe Rogowski for "being part of 25 years of Magic." That should go over well.