James Harden, Dwight Howard lead Rockets over Magic

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Houston, TX, United States (4E Sports) – James Harden scored 27 points while Dwight Howard had a 20-20 performance as the Houston Rockets defeated the Orlando Magic, 98-88, Sunday at Toyota Center.

Harden grabbed 10 boards and missed a triple-double by two assists, Howard had 20 points and 22 rebounds, Chandler Parsons scored 18 while Terrence Jones added 16 points and 14 boards as the Rockets cruised to their second straight victory.

The Rockets have won seven of their last nine outings, improving their record to 15-7 and 10-3 at home.

Glen Davis scored 18 points and grabbed six boards, Arron Afflalo had 16 as the Magic lost their last five games, dropping them to 6-14.

Jameer Nelson scored 15, E’Twaun Moore had 12 off the bench while Andrew Nicholson tallied 11 for the Magic, who suffered their fourth straight defeat on the road, bringing their record away from home to 1-9.

The Magic opened the game with a 9-2 run but the Rockets scored 17 unanswered points, 15 from beyond the arc, to take a 19-9 lead.

After Nicholson stopped the run with a triple, Harden and Patrick Beverley buried back-to-back three-pointers to pad their lead to 25-12.

A 7-0 run by the Magic put them within 28-25 but an 11-4 run by the Rockets restored a double-digit lead midway through the second period.

The Rockets extended their lead to its biggest at 83-61 after three periods. The Magic threatened within 91-81 after a three-pointer by Nelson with six minutes left in the game.

However, Howard kept the Magic at bay with five straight points, including three foul shots, for a 95-81 lead with 4:45 left in the game.

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