The tanks slows down just a bit.
Both teams opened up the game trading baskets.
Houston made 11 baskets on 25 attempts. Orlando made 11 baskets on 22 attempts. Both teams took eight three-point attempts, with the Rockets knocking down three of them and the Magic making four. Houston made three of its four free-throw attempts and Orlando went two-of-two from the stripe.
To no one’s surprise, Kelly Olynyk led all Rockets scorers in the first quarter with seven points on 3-4 shooting. Jae’Sean Tate was right behind him with six points, also on 3-4 shooting.
Christian Wood might have had an abysmal first quarter after going one-of-six from the field, but he had the highlight of the period.
The game went into the second quarter tied 28-28.
The second quarter was a much different story, mainly due to seven Rockets turnovers and seven Rockets fouls in the period.
Houston made one free-throw in two attempts in the period with Orlando knocking down seven of their eight charity attempts. The Magic extended their lead by as much 12 in the quarter before finally settling down to a 59-53 score into halftime.
At the end of two quarters, Kevin Porter Jr. led the Rockets in scoring with 15 points on 5/11 shooting to go along with four assists and three rebounds. Olynyk continued his success on the offensive end, pour in six points in the period for 13 points in the half on 6-of-9 from the field.
The biggest surprise of the half was Olynyk’s three breakaway dunks, including this coast-to-coast jam off a steal and awesome behind-the-back move.
The Rockets came out of the halftime break white-hot, starting off the third quarter on a 22-6 run. Houston’s third quarter was nothing short of dominate, getting their lead as high as 11 after being down as much as 12 points in the game.
The road team controlled the quarter in vintage Houston fashion, scorching Orlando for five three-point makes on 11 attempts. The Magic, on the other hand, made only one of their seven attempts from deep. As a team, the Rockets went a stellar 13-of-22 from the field and 3-4 from the free-throw line. The Magic could muster up only seven makes on 21 attempts from the field.
Wood finally came alive for Houston in the period, going 3-of-5 from the field, 2-4 from three, for nine points in quarter. Porter Jr. continued his scoring onslaught with another seven points in the quarter. Olynyk added another seven points of his own.
The Rockets went into the final 12 minutes of the game up 85-77.
Despite the fact that Houston got their lead up by as much as 14, a 12-3 run from the Magic pulled them back within five, having both teams exchanging buckets for the final eight minutes of the game.
Houston suffered a severe blow with 7:08 left in the game after Kevin Porter Jr. committed his sixth and final foul of the game. Porter Jr. left the game leading the Rockets in scoring with 22 points on 8-15 shooting from the field, 4-7 from deep to go along with his seven assists.
In a rare close game, the Rockets battled down to the wire, even forcing the Orlando Magic to commit intentional fouls to keep the game alive. WHAT?
The Rockets had a great team outing on the offensive end, going 42-82 from the field for 51.2% from the field and also went an immaculate 16-34 from behind the line for 47.1%. It’s stunning that the Magic kept the game so close despite only shooting 45.1% from the field, 34.4% from deep. But that’s the magic of tanking, right?
Christian Wood completely turned around his play from the first half, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds on 9-18 shooting, 4-9 from deep. Kelly Olynyk continues to be a big part of Houston’s offense, adding in 24 points and seven rebounds on 9-14 from the field and 2-4 from deep on the eve of his 30th birthday. Armoni Brooks came up big in the wake of all of Houston’s injury, scoring 16 points after going an incredible 5-6 shooting from deep.
For the Magic, Dwayne Bacon led his team in scoring with 22 points on 7-14 shooting. Cole Anthony and Gary Harris each had 16 points.
Houston doesn’t get any time to rest, as they have to finish up their Florida road trip and visit the Miami Heat tomorrow on Olynyk’s birthday. The Rockets improve to 15-42 on the season.