Howard, Harden lead Houston into Philly
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets didn't want to embark on an east coast trip riding a three-game losing streak and hope their recent success carries over into Wednesday's contest against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Rockets had lost two straight and three of four games before squeezing out a 110-104 double-overtime triumph versus the Toronto Raptors Monday in the finale of a three-game homestand.
Toronto rallied in the fourth quarter to outscore the Rockets 25-16 in the frame and force an extra period. Both teams scored eight points in the first OT, then the Rockets held on for a 15-9 edge in the second overtime and picked up their fifth win of the season (5-3).
Jeremy Lin battled through flu-like symptoms and pumped in a game-high 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting off the bench. James Harden had 26 points and 10 assists, while Dwight Howard added his fifth double-double of 18 points and 24 rebounds. The 24 boards were two off a season high.
"We just have to stick with it," Howard said. "Second half we didn't play as good as we wanted to, but we got a good win. We needed one especially at home, and I'm glad we got it."
Chandler Parsons also scored 18 points for the Rockets, who shot 44 percent from the floor and made only 7-of-26 3-pointers. Harden and Lin each sank a trio of 3-pointers and Patrick Beverley was held to just a point, one game after a season-best 19 against the L.A. Clippers.
Houston, which will also visit the New York Knicks, played without reserve forward Francisco Garcia because of flu-like symptoms. Garcia is questionable for Wednesday's game.
So much for Philadelphia's hot 3-0 start.
The 76ers have dropped two in a row and four of five games since the surprising opening and are coming off Monday's 109-85 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Tim Duncan rested in this one and the Spurs proved they're a well-oiled machine by charging out to a 31-13 lead after one and never looking back.
Evan Turner scored a game-high 20 points and has scored 18-plus points in each of the first eight games this season, matching Allen Iverson's mark established back in 2006-07. Spencer Hawes had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Philadelphia, which will begin a three-game road trip after Wednesday.
"I think the biggest thing we took away from tonight seeing it firsthand is their unselfishness on both ends of the floor," said Hawes, who has five double-doubles on the season. "They were selling out for each other on defense."
The main storyline to Monday's game was Sixers new head coach Brett Brown facing his former employer and mentor Gregg Popovich. Popovich talked about going against Brown or any other former colleague.
"Yeah it's no fun at all," Popovich said. "You have a weird feeling either way; if you win you sort of feel bad and if you lose you're sort of happy for the other guy which is also a weird feeling because you're supposed to come here and win. So it's a weird feeling both ways."
Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams failed to score at least 10 points and finished with eight versus the Spurs. He is listed as probable for Wednesday with a sore left foot.
The 76ers will visit Atlanta, New Orleans and Dallas on the upcoming trek.
Philly and Houston split a pair of meetings last season with each team winning on its home floor. The Sixers have prevailed in eight of the last 11 matchups between the clubs, but are facing a Houston team with the deadly duo of Howard and Harden. The Sixers have scored 100-plus points in five of the last six matchups with the Rockets.
Harden averaged 31.0 points on 54.8 percent shooting in last year's series. That could happen again since the Sixers have given up 100 or more points in seven of their eight games so far in 2013-14.
Houston has lost four of its last five at Wells Fargo Center.
11/13 10:34:08 ET