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Rockets splash 22 of 39 threes in 130-107 rout over Magic

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Oh, and The Beard dropped 54.

Houston Rockets v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Rockets are leaving Central Florida all smiles after a 130-107 win over the Magic.

In the contest, the Rockets splashed 22-39 threes, good for 56.4 percent, which is a season-high for the squad.

The headliner comes from James Harden, who knocked down 54 in the game, one shy of his total from Wednesday’s win against the Cavaliers.

The team also had strong contributions from Ben McLemore, who had 18 of his own of 6-7 from deep.

“When James [Harden] is like that it’s hard for anybody to really beat us,” Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “The main guy making it and when you double him the other guy’s making it. Really not a whole lot else you can do.”

P.J. Tucker also crashed the party with a team-high 11 boards to go with 12 points.

In the first quarter, the offense appeared to vibe through Russell Westbrook, who scored a team-high nine in the frame. Four of those points came on a pair of stadium-shattering dunks.

The Rockets held the Magic to just 34 percent shooting in the first quarter, but rallied to begin the second quarter with an 8-0 run. The Rockets retaliated with a 10-0 run of their own to reach their largest lead of the half.

The Rockets passed the sticks to The Beard and it was as if the actual real-life basketball game turned into 2K20. He scored 18 of the next 24 Houston points as the Rockets took a 62-55 lead into the locker room.

As a team, the Rockets shot 55 percent from the field and sunk 11-19 threes. Considering the Magic entered the game allowing the second-fewest points in the league at 102.7, this was a success.

The team would not cool down in the third, as the team made 7-10 triples in the stanza. After the third quarter, the percentage grew to a whopping 62.1.

In the fourth quarter, the Magic launched a Hail Mary, beginning the quarter on a 15-4 run. But The Beard came to the rescue once more, distancing the Rockets from the Magic. The Magic deficit did not shrink to fewer than nine points.

The Rockets responded with a 12-2 run of their own, which put the game out of reach.

It’s the fifth time in Harden’s career in which he scored 50+ in consecutive games. He continues to make history for the Rockets and he continues to amend the record books, which helps team morale and momentum.

“Yeah. It’s good. We’ve been on the road a lot as of late,” Harden said. “We can hang out and talk about things we can get better at.

The Rockets head home with an undefeated road trip, but the page is quickly turning for the Rockets.

“It brings a lot of momentum, especially on a back-to-back,” Ben McLemore said. “We just got to be prepared and ready, have a great game plan and protect our home.

The win for the Rockets was appreciated, and they relied on their fearless leader to get it done. But this December win against an average Eastern Conference team is a speck in a large flurry of games for the Rockets, a team with larger goals in sight.


The Rockets face a back-to-back tomorrow night in Houston as the team faces the Pistons. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. CT.