The Houston Rockets earned a 118-110 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night, but the win did not come easily.
A balanced scoring effort paced Houston’s offense, but the team did not hold a comfortable lead until there was less than four minutes to play in the contest.
James Harden led the team with 24 points while also contributing seven rebounds and eight assists. Chandler Parsons also had an impressive scoring night with 21 points.
But the highlight for Houston was arguably Donatas Motiejunas, a 7’0” Lithuanian rookie who continued to excel in an elevated role. He contributed 17 points while starting at power forward.
For Orlando, Tobias Harris came off the bench to lead all scorers with 27 points while shooting 11-of-15 from the floor. Nikola Vucevic also had a productive night, posting 18 points and 10 rebounds.
It was not Houston’s finest night, but the result was ultimately what the team needed.
Player of the Game: James Harden
Harden shot just 7-of-18 from the floor, and it certainly was not his best offensive performance.
However, he still gutted out a fine game by chipping in on the glass, moving the ball around and playing defense (he had three steals and a block). He was also aggressive and got to the free-throw line 11 times, making 10 of his attempts.
Part of being a superstar is finding ways to help your team win when your shot is not falling, and tonight Harden showed he could do that.
What’s Next for the Houston Rockets?
Houston improved to 32-28 and will continue to try and fend off the Los Angeles Lakers and attempt to take over the West’s final playoff spot. The team’s next game is at home against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
What’s Next for the Orlando Magic?
Orlando dropped to 16-43 on the season and has won just two of its last 21 games. The Magic will stay at home to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.