It took four quarters and overtime, but the Rockets beat the Magic, 119-114. With the win, the Rockets picked up back-to-back wins after starting the season on a three-game losing streak.
James Harden did not continue his hot shooting from Monday, but he still managed to score 28 points including seven of the team's 9 points in OT. The Rockets got a solid night from the starting unit, with everyone scoring 16 points or more. Below are three takeaways from the win.
When James Harden wants to play defense, he excels at it
While defense was few and far between for the Rockets Wednesday night, there were some good defensive moments.
James Harden stood out twice when guarding Victor Oladipo, turning up the defensive intensity. Harden not only gave Oladipo zero space, he was very active with his hands causing two 24 second violations in important, late-game situations.
Kevin McHale still hasn't found the right group.
If you like seeing unique lineup combinations then you sure must love the Rockets right now. McHale has been throwing out lineup after lineup just trying to find one that will stick.
The Rockets have used nearly every small ball combination you can think of. Last year, when the Rockets were rolling you pretty much knew who was coming in and when they would come in.
Pat Beverley did not come back into the game in the second half because of a sudden illness. Injuries have forced the Rockets' hand, having to play just about anybody at any time.
Ball movement was good in the first half
The ball was flowing like a painters brush on a canvas. They had 17 assists on their 24 field goals made. The pace was picked in first half partly due to the good movement.
The Rockets passed up decent shots to look for the best just shot. One of the plays that stuck out. After five passes, Dwight Howard got the assist hitting Marcus Thornton in stride for a layup after cutting on the baseline.
Secondary assists aren't "officially" kept, but no doubt they filled the stat sheet.