Instant replay: Howard leads Rockets past former team

Instant replay: Howard leads Rockets past former team
December 8, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Highlights: Rockets beat Magic by 10

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The Houston Rockets have dominated eastern conference competition this year and Sunday night was no different as they beat Orlando 98-88, to improve to 7-1 against the east and move to 15-7 overall.

Dwight Howard was a monster against his former team posting 20 points and grabbing 22 rebounds, the seventh time in his career he’s had a 20 point-20 rebound game.

James Harden was fantastic on both ends for the second game in a row. He helped hold Orlando’s leading scorer Arron Afflalo to 6-of-17 shooting and just 16 points. On the offensive end, Harden dished out a season-high tying 10 assists and scored 27 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.

Good timeout (s)

After Houston scored the first basket of the game, Orlando scored the next nine, forcing a Rockets timeout. Out of the timeout, Chandler Parsons took a pill with the ball and in order to avoid a turnover, called another timeout. Whatever was said, worked because the Rockets scored the next 17 points, hit four consecutive 3-pointers and never trailed again.

The game was over when

With about three minutes to go, Jameer Nelson tried to cut the Rockets' shrinking fourth quarter lead to eight with a 3-pointer. His shot rattled in and out, Dwight Howard grabbed his 20th rebound and James Harden scored on the other end to put the Rockets up 98-85.

Next up

The Rockets will embark on a three game west coast road trip that will begin in Portland (17-4) on Thursday night. The Blazers have the best record in the western conference, but the Rockets beat them in Portland earlier this year, 116-101. Houston has won five of their last six games in Portland.  Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge is seventh in the NBA in scoring at 23.1 points per game and ninth in rebounding at 10.1 rebounds per game.