Although it came at the expense of a team plagued by injuries, the Houston Rockets had their best performance of the season thus far. The Rockets ended a two-game losing streak during a 132-90 victory over the Orlando Magic, Friday night, inside the Toyota Center in Houston. With the win, the Rockets improved their record to 3-4 on the season.
Christian Wood made his return to the lineup after missing the last game with a knee injury. He led the way for the Rockets with 22 points and tied a career-best 15 rebounds in the win. James Harden had a bounce-back performance with 15 points and 13 assists — his third double-double of the year.
The Rockets jumped out to a 32-17 lead after they found their offensive rhythm early in the first quarter. Houston drained five of their first 13 shots from behind the arc and ended the night with 22 triples. It was a team effort, but Ben McLemore’s return was vital to the Rockets’ 3-point shooting. McLemore connected on all five of his 3-point shots, en route to a 15-point night for the Rockets. He led all reserve players in scoring.
Joining McLemore with five made 3-pointers was P.J. Tucker — who went 5-for-7 from behind the arc for 15 points.
Although it was a great performance on offense, Houston won the game with their defense. The Rockets held the Magic to 38.2 percent shooting from the floor, and eight total 3-pointers. With eight blocks, Houston held Orlando to 38 points in the paint.
After the win, Stephen Silas says he believes his defensive concepts are starting to sink in with the team.
The Rockets’ held a 29 point lead at the half, which extended to 36 heading into the fourth quarter. Silas sat all his starters for the final 12 minutes when the Magic scored 33 points in the period. John Wall ended the night with 14 points (5-11 FG, 3-4 3PT), with David Nwaba scoring six points in the win. Nwaba started in place of the injured Danuel House Jr. (back).
The Magic came into this game with seven players inactive due to injuries. Orlando’s most significant loss took place Wednesday night when Markelle Fultz sustained an ACL tear, leaving the Magic without their starting point guard for the rest of the season.
Rookie Cole Anthony received the first start of his career, scoring 15 points in 28 minutes. All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 22 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Following the blowout win over a depleted Magic team, the Rockets will return to action Sunday, when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers. Tip-off is slated for 6 P.M. CT inside the Toyota Center.