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Harden flirts with triple-double as Rockets top Magic

Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden dumped in 27 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds, Dwight Howard scored 20 points with 22 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets beat the Orlando Magic, 98-88, at Toyota Center.

"I just wanted to get the win tonight," Howard said of playing his former team. "I'm just happy our team came out tonight, settled down and played basketball."

Chandler Parsons netted 18 points, while Terrence Jones scored 16 points with 13 rebounds and five blocks for Houston, which has won seven of its last nine tilts.

Glen Davis scored 18 points starting in place of Nikola Vucevic, who sat out his third consecutive game with a sprained left ankle.

Arron Afflalo contributed 16 points and nine rebounds while fellow backcourt mate Jameer Nelson added 15 points.

"When they delivered that punch, we didn't do a good job of taking it," Nelson said.

Parsons scored the first bucket of the game with a dunk off a Patrick Beverley feed and the Magic ran off nine straight when Andrew Nicholson capped the spurt with a jumper at 8:12.

Then, a 3-point barrage ensued.

Harden hit a pullup jumper that ignited a 17-0 run. Parsons hit back-to-back treys which were followed by triples from Jones, Beverley, and Harden.

The Rockets used the run as a springboard to take a 28-18 lead into the second frame.

Orlando scored the first seven in the second but Howard gave the Rockets their double-digit lead back after a putback midway through the stanza.

The lead grew to as many as 15 in the half, and the Rockets took a 52-38 lead into the break.

Houston maintained the 14-point lead for most of third and slowly pushed it to 22, 83-61, after a three-point play from Jones with 4.4 seconds left in the third.

Jones split a pair at the line and the Magic went on a 10-1 run to cut the deficit to 91-81 with 5:59 to play in the game.

The comeback was short lived, however, as Howard scored five straight, including 3-of-3 at the charity stripe, to give the Rockets a 96-81 lead with just under five minutes on the clock.

Game Notes

Houston outrebounded Orlando 60-43 ... The Magic, however, outscored the Rockets 38-36 in the paint ... Orlando will travel to Memphis with a matchup against the Grizzlies on Monday ... Houston will play at Portland on Thursday.