Another game, another big defeat. On Tuesday night, the Houston Rockets did the honors, disposing of the Orlando Magic 128-104.
After giving up 70 points in the first half, the Magic actually made a game of it in the fourth quarter, closing to within 106-97. The Rockets went on an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Nikola Vucevic and Serge Ibaka tried to keep their team in the game. Vucevic had 14 points and 19 rebounds, while Ibaka had a season-high 28 points and eight rebounds.
NBA Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden led the Rockets with 25 points and 13 assists. Trevor Ariza chipped in 20 points.
Orlando had no answers for the Rockets offense. They shot 49 percent from the field, and also penetrated to get some easy shots or get to the free throw line. They made 24 of 36 free throws.
“It is a difficult team to match up with when they get going,” said Ibaka. “They can drive, they can shoot. They take their time to make the extra pass.”
The Magic shot nearly 48 percent themselves. Had they been able to contain the Rockets at all, they might have had a chance.
“It’s tough when you let a team build a big lead like they did,” said Vucevic. “They let us back in the game, but we could not get all the way back.”
The loss dropped the Magic to 20-34 on the season. They now stand only one and one-half game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers for the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers come to the Amway Center on Thursday night having lost six of their last seven games. The Magic have lost seven of nine.