Houston Rockets (41-19) at Orlando Magic (19-43), 7 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard will return to the city he called home for eight seasons on Wednesday night when his Houston Rockets visit the Orlando Magic.
Howard played his first eight seasons in the league with the Magic before they traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers before last season. He signed with the Rockets as a free agent this past summer and is helping lead Houston to prominence.
The Rockets have won two in a row, four of five and 12 of 15.
Their most recent victory was one of their more impressive of the season. On Tuesday night, Houston ended the Miami Heat's eight-game winning streak with a 106-103 decision at the Toyota Center.
All five Houston starters reached double figures, with Howard leading the way with a 22-point, 16-rebound effort. James Harden tallied 21 points and 11 assists, while Patrick Beverley and Terrence Jones netted 19 apiece in Houston's sixth straight home win. Chandler Parsons had 10 points and eight assists in the triumph.
The Rockets were ahead throughout on Tuesday, but the Heat showed their championship pedigree. Miami tied it with 7:39 to go and had a chance to force overtime but LeBron James is human after all. His stepback 3-pointer went a little long and the Rockets held James to 22 points one night after a career- high 61.
"I thought during stretches in this game we played really well," said Houston coach Kevin McHale. "We had a great start and a really good third quarter where we extended the lead a little bit. We did a lot of really good things tonight. That was a good game."
The Magic have won two of their last three, but both victories came against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. In between, they lost to the Heat in South Beach.
Orlando has won two straight at home with the most recent victory a 92-81 decision over the Sixers on Sunday night.
Tobias Harris scored a career-high 31 points and Nikola Vucevic posted an impressive double-double in the triumph. Harris shot 11-of-20 from the field and made all nine of his free throws while Vucevic finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds against his former team.
E'Twaun Moore netted eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to help secure the win. Moe Harkless added 10 points in the victory.
"We knew as a team that this is a game that we had to win," Harris told the team's website. "We lost in Miami and I thought we played a pretty good game. It was a tough game mentally-wise for both teams because they played (on Saturday), too. Mentally we had to get ourselves ready before the game and then withstand it throughout the game."
Jameer Nelson missed the 76ers game with a sore left calf and is listed as questionable. Arron Afflalo missed his fifth straight with a sprained right ankle and illness. He is listed as probable.
The Rockets have won three straight against the Magic, but Orlando is 3-1 in its last four as the host in this series.
Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard had another successful trip back to Orlando, scoring 19 points with 13 rebounds Wednesday night to help the Houston Rockets beat the Magic 101-89.
James Harden led Houston with 31 points, Chandler Parsons scored 15 of his 19 in the second quarter and Terrence Jones chipped in 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The Rockets trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half but dominated the second half to win their third in a row and move to 13-2 over their last 15.
Arron Afflalo led the short-handed Magic with 18 points and Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless scored 15 apiece. Orlando had a two-game home winning streak snapped, falling for just the second time in their last nine at Amway Center.
Victor Oladipo (sore left ankle) missed the game for Orlando on the day he was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for February. Point guard Jameer Nelson (illness) was out for the second straight game.
Last March 12, Howard returned to play the Magic as an opponent for the first time and led the Lakers to a 106-97 win over his former team, scoring a season-high 39 points and tying his own NBA record with 39 free-throw attempts.
Fans jeered every time he stepped to the foul line and cheered each time he missed -- 14 in all.
They booed again Wednesday night when the Magic showed a video tribute to Howard as part of their 25th anniversary celebration and when the center's name was called during pre-game introductions.
The Rockets took their first lead since 8-6 with an 8-0 run to open the second half. Harden hit a 3 during the burst and the teams went back-and-forth until an 11-0 run by the Rockets to end the quarter gave them a 75-65 lead.
Howard had an alley-oop dunk during that run and Harden scored the last seven points.
Orlando trimmed its deficit to three in the fourth quarter but Houston scored seven in a row to remain in front and went up by as many as 14.
Earlier, the Magic shot better than 60 percent in the first quarter and took a 32-19 lead on E'Twaun Moore's fall-away one-hander at the buzzer.
Parsons scored 15 in the second quarter for the Rockets, including nine during a 12-2 run that cut their deficit from 14 to four. Orlando shot under 30 percent in the quarter and took a 48-41 lead into halftime.