National Basketball Association
Orlando 126, Houston 106
When: 7:00 PM ET, Sunday, March 8, 2020
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
#55 Bill Kennedy, #77 Karl Lane, #52 Scott Twardoski
D.J. Augustin scored 24 points and was one of six players to reach double figures for the Orlando Magic, who dismantled the reeling Rockets 126-106 Sunday at Toyota Center in Houston.
Despite playing without injured guard Evan Fournier, their second-leading scorer who sat with an elbow injury, the Magic ran roughshod over the defenseless Rockets, starting with a run midway through the opening quarter. Orlando turned its size advantage into a dominating display on the offensive glass, turning 13 first-half offensive rebounds into 22 second-chance points before the break.
Nikola Vucevic (16 points, 16 rebounds) and Aaron Gordon (19 points, 10 rebounds) posted double-doubles to pace the effort on the interior for the Magic. Point guard Markelle Fultz posted 18 points despite battling cramps in his right calf. Michael Carter-Williams and Terrence Ross (16 points apiece) teamed with Augustin to give Orlando a 61-39 advantage in bench points.
The Rockets have dropped four consecutive games and suffered a second successive blowout loss at home. After trailing by as many as 30 points in their 120-105 setback to the Los Angeles Clippers last Thursday, the Rockets trailed by as many as 32 points in the second half Sunday.
Russell Westbrook and James Harden combined for 47 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, but that duo also totaled 12 turnovers. Houston committed a dozen turnovers in the first half that Orlando parlayed into 20 points to fuel its attack. The Rockets have stumbled out of the gate in each of their past five games, even trailing the Boston Celtics by 17 before rallying to win last Sunday.
Jeff Green added 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting off the bench for Houston, which missed 23-of-32 3-pointers. The Rockets played without guards Eric Gordon (knee) and Ben McLemore (illness).
Harden scored five consecutive points to pull the Rockets even at 16-16 at the 5:14 mark of the first period, only for the Magic to respond with an 11-0 run that featured three successive treys. It was an uphill battle from there for Houston, one the Rockets appeared willing to fight with a spurt late in the second quarter that cut the deficit to 60-46 on a pair of Harden free throws.
But Orlando closed the half with another 11-0 run that included a five-point possession. Gordon hit a 3 through a Green foul, with Green subsequently whistled for a technical foul. Robert Covington and Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni were also saddled with technicals with 3.9 seconds left in the half. When Vucevic made a hook shot with 10:56 left in the third, Orlando led 76-46.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
D.J. Augustin 24
Russell Westbrook 24
Markelle Fultz 5
James Harden 6
Nikola Vucevic 16
Russell Westbrook 8
D.J. Augustin 6
||Free Throws Made
James Harden 8
Aaron Gordon 3
James Harden 3
Aaron Gordon 2
Robert Covington 4
Team Stats Summary
Houston will play their next game at home against Minnesota. The Rockets have a W/L % of .650 after a win and .565 after a loss.
Orlando will play their next game on the road against Memphis. The Magic have a W/L % of .464 after a win and .444 after a loss.