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Rockets fall apart in second half, lose to Magic 116-110

The Rockets got out to a big lead but couldn’t hold it.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets took early control of their game agains ther Orlando Magic on Wednesday night, but they couldn’t sustain their play for four quarters despite leading by 15 at one point in the third frame as the Magic rallied for a 116-110 victory.

Kevin Porter Jr. led the way for the Rockets, as he poured in 31 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals on 12-for-19 shooting from the floor and 5-for-9 from deep. Porter had been struggling with his shot, but he busted out of his shooting slump in a big way on Wednesday night.

The Rockets also got 21 points from Jalen Green, who also had 8 boards and shot 8-for-17 from the floor and 4-for-11 from beyond the arc, but he was essentially invisible in the fourth quarter.

Unfortuntely for Houston, however, they scored only 46 total points in the second half after the Magic switched to a zone defense in order to slow down Porter and the Rockets, who cruised to 64 points in the first half. Magic coach Jamahl Mosley credited the switch for the victory, saying:

“Our coaches did a great job of recognizing we needed to change something up. Going into the zone, I think was a great change up to just give a different look. Our guys understood that we just had to get some energy and momentum going, and that gave us what we needed.”

Other top Rockets performers were Alperen Sengun, who finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists, KJ Martin, who finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, and Jabari Smith Jr. who tallied 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. He played his typical good defense, but he was outperformed in the box score by fellow top draft pick Paolo Banchero, who finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists to help lead the Magic.

Orlando also got 25 points from Franz Wagner and 15 off the bench from Cole Anthony to round out their top scorers.

The Rockets have now slipped to 9-22 on the year and hold the worst record in the Western Conference and the third-worst record in the NBA. They will return to action Friday night for one more home game against the Dallas Mavericks.