HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets recorded their fifth straight victory in a 118-116 victory over the Orlando Magic, Friday night inside the Toyota Center. With their longest winning streak since the W.O.W Factor extending, the Rockets improve to 6-16 on the season.
In front of Rockets legend Steve Francis, who knows a thing or two about having a dynamic duo on the court after years playing alongside Yao Ming. The Rockets’ latest tandem of Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. returned from respective minor injuries sustained during Houston’s four-point victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Porter, who was a game-time decision, led the Rockets to a 31-24 first-quarter lead over the Magic, after scoring eight points in the period. Midway through the second quarter, Porter began to walk with a slight limp. After 18 minutes of play in the first half, his night was over.
But without their starting point guard, the Rockets showcased the same grit that led to their fourth consecutive win when Porter left prematurely against the Thunder on Wednesday.
On the heels of his career performance, Jae’Sean Tate scored 10 of his 15 points during the first half, while Eric Gordon added 14. But the scorching start from Gordon, Porter and Tate was not enough, with the Rockets trailing the Magic 56-54 at halftime.
Wood had a slow start to the game, but began to find his niche during the third quarter. Out of 30 points scored by the Rockets during the third, Wood accounted for 16 to help Houston take an 84-83 lead into the fourth. Gordon scored a team-high 24 points, while Wood 20 in his return from injury.
Porter’s injury gave way for veteran point guard D.J. Augustin to attribute to the win. In his first game back following a two-game absence due to COVID, Augustin connected on two triples that led to the Rockets catching fire from behind the arc.
After entering the fourth quarter shooting 28.9 percent from deep, Houston drilled six threes in the final period to seal the win.
The Rockets led Orlando 114-101 with 4:09 left in the fourth quarter, before the Magic embarked on an 11-0 run. After cutting the Rockets led down by two, Magic’s guard Cole Anthony tied the game at 114 apiece with 47 seconds left in regulation.
After trading baskets with the game tied at 116 with 6.5 seconds left on the game clock, Gordon scored a go-ahead basket to give the Rockets a two-point lead.
The Magic had seven players who scored in double figures, with Anthony scoring a game-high 26 points for Orlando in the loss.
Following the win, the Rockets will try to make it six consecutive victories on Sunday, when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans inside the Toyota Center. Tip-off is slated for 6 P.M. CT.