James Harden scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half, Dwight Howard shook off some boos for 19 points and 14 rebounds and the Houston Rockets pulled away from the Orlando Magic late, 101-89, on Wednesday night.
The Rockets got out to an incredibly sloppy start and found themselves down by 14 points early in the second quarter. However, 15 second-period points by Chandler Parsons helped pull Houston to within seven at halftime, and in the third quarter, the Rockets outscored the Magic 34-17 to take a 10-point lead into the final period.
Orlando closed to within three against Houston's bench at one point in the fourth, but the Rockets starters checked back in and restored order.
Howard, who was given a short video tribute in his second trip back to Orlando since being traded during the summer of 2012, was booed every time he touched the ball early on. He did most of his damage in the second half, posting 12 points and nine boards over the final 24 minutes.
The real catalyst for the Rockets' second-half run, though, was Harden. He sliced and diced the Magic's defense and got to the basket at will, drawing contact and hitting all seven of his free-throw attempts in the last two quarters.
Houston overcame 21 turnovers in the win. It helped that it outrebounded Orlando 49-34.
Arron Afflalo led the Magic with 18 points, and Nikola Vucevic chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds.
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