Harkless, Magic fight back late but fall in Houston
The Orlando Magic started a new losing streak on Monday night as they fell to the Houston Rockets by a score of 111-103. The second game of a five game road trip brought the second consecutive loss for Orlando.
The Magic found themselves trailing by double digits just over three minutes into the game and wouldn’t cut the lead to single digits until there was less than three minutes left in the game. After trailing by as many as 25, the Magic made a furious fourth quarter comeback against the Rockets backups.
A Tobias Harris layup cut the lead to five with 1:32 remaining, but the team would not be able to get any closer as Nik Vucevic missed three consecutive shots before Houston sealed the game at the free throw line. Harris finished the night with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Vucevic had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Rockets were playing without superstar James Harden (foot) and fellow starter Chandler Parsons (flu) but it didn’t stop their offensive juggernaut from scoring at will. Jeremy Lin went wherever he wanted with the ball and helped his big men score at will in the paint. Lin finished with 19 points and 11 assists and Omer Asik had 22 points and 18 rebounds.
Rookie Moe Harkless had a career high scoring night finishing with 28 points on 10-18 shooting and found a way to keep the team somewhat relevant throughout the night with converting putbacks and making himself active around the game. His 3-point shooting coming into the night was 39% since the All-Star break and he continued his improvements tonight converting 2-4.
The Magic played another game without starting PG Jameer Nelson (ankle) but got another good showing from his backup, Beno Udrih who finished with 17 points and 10 assists. Unfortunately, most of that production came late after the Magic were out of the game.
“We gave up 30+ points in the first two quarters and we didnt have a stop in the first 11 possessions of the game. We talked about we need to have a better mindset heading into the game and you see the difference in the second half.” – Magic Coach Jacque Vaughn after the game
Spotting a playoff team a 20 point lead in the first quarter is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. The young Magic came out flat tonight and they paid for it immediately.
Orlando is back in action on Wednesday night in San Antonio.