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(Friday, March 1st)
Final Score: Houston 118, Orlando 110
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - James Harden registered a team-high 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, as the Houston Rockets defeated the Orlando Magic, 118-110, at Amway Center.
Harden shot 7-of-18 from the field, but was 10-of-11 from the free throw line for the Rockets, who have won three of their last five games. Harden and Patrick Beverley combined for 21 of Houston's 32 points in the fourth quarter, as the Rockets used a big run to overtake the Magic.
"All these games are going to count, especially if we want to make the playoff push," said Harden. "We try not to think about it, because we try not to get sidetracked by thinking about too many other things."
Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino scored 21 points apiece for the Rockets. Donatas Motiejunas added 17 points and Omer Asik recorded nine points and 12 rebounds.
Tobias Harris recorded a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds off the bench in the loss, Orlando's seventh in eight games. Arron Afflalo scored 19 points and Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
"We went out there tonight and played a heck of a game, brought a lot of energy, and battled to the end of the game," said Harris. "It just shows that as a team we're making steps ... If we can just keep building on this, I think that would be good for us."
Down 100-98 with 5:09 remaining, Beverley made a 3-pointer to start an 11-0 run. Harden scored six points in the swing, including making a pair of free throws to cap the burst with 3:28 left.
Orlando's E'Twaun Moore hit a jumper to close the gap to 112-107, but the Magic had trouble in the final 1:13 of the game. While Delfino and Harden combined for six free throws, Orlando missed four shots before Harris fired a trey with seven seconds remaining.
The first half was a high-scoring affair, with both teams being efficient on the court. Houston shot 60 percent, including 11-of-20 from behind the arc, while Orlando shot 55.8 percent, including 6-of-12 from 3-point range.
At halftime, Orlando had a 64-61 edge.
In the third quarter, the two teams traded shots as the lead changed seven times.
Down 86-82 with 2:10 remaining in the third, Harris scored four straight points to tie the game with 51.9 seconds to go. Afflalo made a free throw to give Orlando an 87-86 advantage entering the fourth.
The Rockets snapped a five-game losing streak against the Magic ... Harden scored 20 points in the second half ... Moore had a career-high 11 assists ... Orlando's Jameer Nelson missed his fifth straight game due to a left patella tendon contusion.
03/01 23:08:40 ET
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