Rock­ets fall to Magic, 116-109

Texarkana Gazette - - SPORTS - By Bill Fay

OR­LANDO—Nikola Vuce­vic and Aaron Gor­don each scored 22 points, Evan Fournier had 17 and the Or­lando Magic ral­lied past the in­jury-de­pleted Hous­ton Rock­ets 116-109 on Sun­day night.

Hous­ton’s James Harden scored 38 points to push his run of 30-point games to 16, but at a high price. The Rock­ets star was just 1 for 17 on 3-point­ers. He had 12 as­sists and nine re­bounds.

Austin Rivers scored 25 points and Clint Capela 17 points and 10 re­bounds for Hous­ton, which lost for only the fourth time in its last 17 games.

Ter­rence Ross had 17 points for Or­lando, in­clud­ing six dur­ing a 16-2 run late in the fourth quar­ter when the Magic put away Hous­ton.

With Harden on the bench for a brief rest, the Rock­ets used a 10-2 run to start the fourth pe­riod and grab a 98-88 lead, but the Magic passed them when Ross fol­lowed a three­p­oint play with a 3-pointer to make it 106-105 with 3:11 left.

Fournier and D.J. Au­gustin fol­lowed with back-to-back 3-point­ers and Vuce­vic hit a short jump hook that fin­ished a 16-2 run that gave the Magic a 114-107 lead with 1:21 left in the game.

Harden nearly had a triple-dou­ble at half­time with 16 points, nine as­sists and seven re­bounds.

Hous­ton’s first half was al­most ex­clu­sively Harden’s drib­bling be­hind the top of the 3-point line and tak­ing step-back 3-point­ers or driv­ing to the bas­ket for layups or lobs to Capela. Harden was 1 for 9 from 3-point land. Four of his as­sists

were al­ley-oops to Capela for dunks.

Or­lando didn’t have the one­man show Hous­ton did, but the Magic got scor­ing from all nine play­ers and were only down 59-52 at half­time.

TIP-INS

Rock­ets: Bran­don Knight (knee) and Nene (rested be­cause of back-to-back) joined Chris Paul (ham­string) and Eric Gor­don (knee) on Hous­ton’s in­jured list. . Hous­ton is av­er­ag­ing nearly 10 points more in its last 16 games than it did in its first 16 games. (116.2 vs. 106.6). James Harden had his string of five or more 3-point­ers in a game end at 12.

Magic: Rookie C Mo Bamba missed his third straight game with a foot in­jury. . Or­lando is 10-8 in back-to-back sit­u­a­tions, but only 3-7 in the sec­ond game.

UP NEXT:

Rock­ets: Hous­ton heads home to play Mem­phis in the sec­ond game of a back-to-back.

Magic: Travel to De­troit Wed­nes­day to play the Pis­tons.

John Raoux/As­so­ci­ated Press

■ Hous­ton Rock­ets' Clint Capela (15) dunks over Or­lando Magic's Nikola Vuce­vic (9) dur­ing the first half of an NBA game, Sun­day in Or­lando, Fla.

John Raoux/As­so­ci­ated Press

■ Hous­ton Rock­ets’ James Harden watches his team­mates on the court against the Or­lando Magic on Sun­day in Or­lando, Fla.

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