HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Rockets took advantage of three days off as the rested Rockets led by as many as 27 in a convincing 128-104 victory over the Orlando Magic Tuesday night at Toyota Center.
James Harden had 25 points and 13 assists in the victory and admitted that the extra time off helped get their legs underneath them on a night where the Rockets would shoot 42% from behind the three-point line.
“It was our first time having a few days off like that this entire season,” Harden said. It was good for our bodies, we got some rest and it showed.”
The Rockets built a 20-point lead in the first half against a Magic team that has now lost four of their last five outings. Orlando, chipped away at the Rockets lead and pulled to within eight points with 10:55 remaining in regulation.
“We just need to do better,” said Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.”We kind of, again, lost our focus a little bit, like we did with Atlanta.”
The Rockets picked up on the defensive end in the final quarter, forcing four Orlando turnovers in the fourth which led to nine Rockets points. Houston outscored the Magic 30-24 in the final period en route to their 38th victory of the season.
“We got stops and got out and got some easy buckets,” Harden said.
Serge Ibaka, who has been mentioned in trade rumors involving Houston, scored 28 points to lead for the Magic in a losing effort. Evan Fournier added 21.
Harden’s 25 led eight Rockets in double-figures. Trevor Ariza added 20 points with Sam Dekker chipping in with 18 off the bench.
Houston has three games left before hitting the NBA All-Star Break including a road game Thursday against the Charlotte Hornets.