Rockets shoot down Magic without Harden
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3), right, is fouled by Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (2) while pushing the ball up the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
By Dick Scanlon, Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Gerald Green scored 27 points, Clint Capela had 21 points and eight rebounds and the Houston Rockets got by without NBA scoring leader James Harden, routing the Orlando Magic 116-98 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Harden was sidelined by a strained left hamstring.
Green made his first five three-point shots and finished 7-for-10 from behind the arc for the Rockets, who were never behind and led by as many as 28 late in the third quarter.
Eric Gordon added 17 points and six assists to help Houston tune up for its Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) showdown with the Golden State Warriors.
Aaron Gordon led the Magic with 16 points after missing his first eight shots. Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja added 14 each in Orlando’s 12th loss on 13 games.
The Magic (12-27) missed 16 of their first 18 shots and fell behind by 15 points before the end of the first quarter. A scoring burst by Hezonja kept them in the game in the second quarter but they could get no closer than nine.
Capela scored on a layup, a dunk and two free throws during the Rockets’ 15-5 spurt at the outset of the second half, turning the game into a rout at 70-46.
Houston shot 44 percent (15-for-34) from three-point range while Orlando shot 19 percent (6-for-31).
Rockets: The game was only the second missed by Harden in the last four seasons. ...After getting 10 points and five rebounds, Nene left the game with a bruised right knee.
Magic: F Jonathon Simmons left the game in the second quarter with back spasms and did not return.
Rockets: Host Golden State on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Magic: Host Cleveland on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time).