The Rockets sneak away with a 114-107 win against the Magic behind Harden’s 60-point performance

The Rockets sneak away with a 114-107 win against the Magic behind Harden’s 60-point performance

The Orlando Magic are currently the worst team in the league, sitting with a 14-34 record, and it wouldn’t help that they are on a two-game losing streak.  They will look to break that streak as they take on the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.  As for the Rockets, they are coming fresh off of a 113-102 win against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.  This game between the Magic and the Rockets will mark the second and final time that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.

The Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets have played each other a grand total of 62 times in the past as the Magic won 27 games while the Rockets ended up winning 35 games.  January 3 was the last time they met up as the Rockets handed the Magic a 116 to 98 blowout loss.  During that game, Gerald Green scored 27 points, pulled down 6 rebounds, dished off two assists, and blocked one shot while Aaron Gordon finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds.

INACTIVES:

Orlando Magic:

Jonathan Issac (ankle; 5.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.7 APG, 40.5 FG%, 27.8 3P%)
Terrence Ross (knee; 9.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 40.7 FG%, 32.9 3P%)
Nikola Vucevic (hand; 17.4 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 49.1 FG%, 34.3 3P%)
Aaron Gordon (hip; 18.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, 44.7 FG%, 34.6 3P%)
Jamel Artis (G-League; 1.8 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 23.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%)

Houston Rockets:

Trevor Ariza (hamstring; 12.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 42.4 FG%, 38.3 3P%)
Zhou Qi (elbow; 1.2 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.1 APG, 16.7 FG%, 13.3 3P%)
Tarik Black (coach’s decision; 3.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.2 APG, 56.7 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
Markel Brown (coach’s decision)
Chris Paul (groin; 19.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 8.6 APG, 46.0 FG%, 40.3 3P%)
R.J. Hunter (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 1.0 APG)
Troy Williams (G-League; 1.3 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 22.2 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
Chinanu Onuaku (G-League)

GAMETIME:

The beginning of the game would be competitive as the Orlando Magic shot forty-nine percent from the field while the Houston Rockets ended up shooting forty-seven percent.  Evan Fournier chalked up ten points which included two three-pointers late in the first quarter.  Bismack Biyombo would contribute with four points and five rebounds while Shelvin Mack had nine points off of the bench.  Louisiana-native Elfrid Payton was kept to just two points on thirty-three percent shooting.  D.J. Augustin played 17 minutes off of the bench as he got hot for 13 points.

On the other end of the court, James Harden lit the floor up with 24 points as he collected five defensive rebounds and dished off seven assists.  He also had two steals while Clint Capela scored six points and pulled down eight rebounds.  Eric Gordon was kept scoreless in the 10 minutes that he played but Ryan Anderson would give five points.  Gerald Green played the most minutes off of the bench as he had eight points but it was the Magic who went into halftime with a 55-54 lead.

The Rockets responded in the second half as they went on a 60 to 52 run, shooting fifty-four percent from the field.  James Harden went off for 36 points while drilling five three-pointers in the process.  He would also record five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block to add to it.  Nene played eight minutes off of the bench but was held scoreless while Capela helped out with six points.

As for the Florida team, Mario Hezonja posted up 13 points while Jonathon Simmons scored 11 points.  Marreese Speights played the most minutes off of the bench as he contributed with 12 points but that didn’t matter as the Rockets walked away with a 114 to 107 victory.  James Harden finished the game with a career-high 60 points, along with 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 steals, and one block.  The triple-double that Harden received would mark the first time a player had a 60-point triple-double in NBA history.  Marreese Speights settled for 17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, one steal, and one block.  Mario Hezonja also had 17 points, as well as 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and one block.

So…what’s next?

The Orlando Magic will host Kyle Kuzma (16.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 46 FG%) and the Los Angeles Lakers (19-30) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  This meeting will mark the first of two times that these teams will battle each other this season.  The Magic and the Lakers have clashed with each other a total of 61 times as the Lakers won 41 games while the Magic pulled out only 20 wins.

The Houston Rockets will visit Texas to clash with LaMarcus Aldridge (22.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 49 FG%) and the San Antonio Spurs (33-19) on Thursday at 8:00 p.m.  That game will mark the second of four times that these two ball clubs will matchup this season.  The Rockets and the Spurs have played each other a grand total of 212 times in the past as the Rockets won 96 games while the Spurs went on to win 116 games.  The last time they faced each other was on December 15 when the Rockets defeated the Spurs, 124 to 109.  James Harden finished that game with 28 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and one block while Chris Paul also had 28 points, along with 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 steals, and one block.  LaMarcus Aldridge settled for 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and one steal.

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