NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, March 5th
(All times Eastern)
Houston Rockets (41-19) at Orlando Magic (19-43), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard will return to the city he called home for
eight seasons on Wednesday night when his Houston Rockets visit the Orlando
Howard played his first eight seasons in the league with the Magic before they
traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers before last season. He signed with the
Rockets as a free agent this past summer and is helping lead Houston to
The Rockets have won two in a row, four of five and 12 of 15.
Their most recent victory was one of their more impressive of the season. On
Tuesday night, Houston ended the Miami Heat's eight-game winning streak with a
106-103 decision at the Toyota Center.
All five Houston starters reached double figures, with Howard leading the way
with a 22-point, 16-rebound effort. James Harden tallied 21 points and 11
assists, while Patrick Beverley and Terrence Jones netted 19 apiece in
Houston's sixth straight home win. Chandler Parsons had 10 points and eight
assists in the triumph.
The Rockets were ahead throughout on Tuesday, but the Heat showed their
championship pedigree. Miami tied it with 7:39 to go and had a chance to force
overtime but LeBron James is human after all. His stepback 3-pointer went a
little long and the Rockets held James to 22 points one night after a career-
"I thought during stretches in this game we played really well," said Houston
coach Kevin McHale. "We had a great start and a really good third quarter
where we extended the lead a little bit. We did a lot of really good things
tonight. That was a good game."
The Magic have won two of their last three, but both victories came against
the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. In between, they lost to the Heat in South
Orlando has won two straight at home with the most recent victory a 92-81
decision over the Sixers on Sunday night.
Tobias Harris scored a career-high 31 points and Nikola Vucevic posted an
impressive double-double in the triumph. Harris shot 11-of-20 from the field
and made all nine of his free throws while Vucevic finished with 18 points and
17 rebounds against his former team.
E'Twaun Moore netted eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to help
secure the win. Moe Harkless added 10 points in the victory.
"We knew as a team that this is a game that we had to win," Harris told the
team's website. "We lost in Miami and I thought we played a pretty good game.
It was a tough game mentally-wise for both teams because they played (on
Saturday), too. Mentally we had to get ourselves ready before the game and
then withstand it throughout the game."
Jameer Nelson missed the 76ers game with a sore left calf and is listed as
questionable. Arron Afflalo missed his fifth straight with a sprained right
ankle and illness. He is listed as probable.
The Rockets have won three straight against the Magic, but Orlando is 3-1 in
its last four as the host in this series.
03/05 10:18:56 ET