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Houston defeats Philly, improves to 4-0

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It was sloppy at times, but the Rockets were able to put together enough offense in the fourth to put away the young guns from Philly.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

They say that basketball is a game of runs and tonight's contest between the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers proved that true.

Houston jumped out to a 13-point lead in the first half that was quickly eradicated by the Association's youngest team. Thanks to flashes of brilliant shooting and a stretch of sound defense by the Sixers, by halftime, the Rockets lead had shrunk to a single point.

The third quarter opened up similarly to the first, with a series of sloppy turnovers and then an explosion of offensive productivity to extend Houston's lead into double-digits, but Philadelphia again followed up with good shooting and defense, shrinking Houston's lead to a two possession game early in the fourth quarter.

Another big run by Houston's starters to close out the fourth was able to seal the deal 104-93.

The Good

-Trevor "A3za" Ariza continued his otherworldly shooting streak going 6-9 from behind the arc on his way to a 24-point outing. Ariza tacked on 7 assists and 6 rebounds for good measure. So far the Rockets newest starting player has been this season's biggest bright spot.

-James Harden set a new record for free throws made in a singe game in Wells Fargo Center, hitting 17-18 from the line. The rest of stat line was equally impressive: he finished the game with 35 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.

-Howard vs. Noel isn't a conversation. Dwight held Nerlens to a single rebound, grabbing 14 of his own. The box-out battle had a clear winner.

The Bad

-If you exclude Jason Terry's 8 points, the Rockets' bench only contributed 7 collective points to tonight's victory. Depth is going to be an issue if Houston can't find a way to generate offense off the bench other than wide-open three-pointers from Jet.

-Turnovers. The Rockets had 21 of them. That's bad.

-Isaiah Canaan filled in for the injured Patrick Beverley. While his numbers appear decent -- 13 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds -- they don't tell the whole story. His inability to find Dwight in the post was a huge part of the spotty offensive stretches and he often looked lost on defense, allowing Tony Wroten to score 20.

-Closing out on shooters is a problem. The perimeter defense outside of Ariza and Beverley still needs work, but if you've been watching Rockets basketball, that's no news to you. Philly shot 50 percent from behind the arc, knocking down 11 three-pointers.

The Rockets look to stay perfect tomorrow night when they head to Miami to take on Bosh, Wade and the Heat.