The Magic threw about everything they had at Houston’s James Harden and the strategy worked. Barely.
Orlando rallied in the fourth quarter to squeeze out a 116-109 win over visiting Houston on Sunday behind 22 points apiece from Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon, and 17 points from Evan Fournier.
The Magic outscored Harden and Houston 14-4 in the final four minutes of the game to win their second straight.
“That was exhausting,” said Fournier, who spent most of the game chasing Harden around pick-and-rolls. “The guy is terrific. I thought overall, we did a pretty good job, but the guy still had 38.”
Harden scored 38 points to push his run of 30-point games to 16, but at a high price. Harden was 1-for-17 on 3-point attempts. He did get fouled three times from beyond the arc and was 9-for-9 from the free-throw line on those occasions (15-for-16 overall), but it was not enough to give the Rockets a comfortable edge.
Houston led much of the game and was up 105-98 after Harden made two foul shots with 4:34 left.
From there, however, he was 1-for-5 from the field, including three misses on step-back 3-pointers. His teammates were 0-for-3 during that span.
Cavaliers 101, Lakers 95: Cedi Osman scored 20 points, Collin Sexton added 17 and visiting Cleveland ended a 12-game slide by forcing Los Angeles into a halfcourt game. Kyle Kuzma had 29 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost five of their past seven. Brandon Ingram scored 22 points and Lonzo Ball had 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. L.A. was 7-for-34 on 3-point tries and had 11 fast-break points.
Nuggets 116, Trail Blazers 113: Nikola Jokic scored a season-high 40 points, Jamal Murray fought through a bloody lip to add 24 and host Denver edged Portland.
Raptors 140, Wizards 138: Serge Ibaka hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the second overtime and visiting Toronto won its fifth straight. The Raptors wasted a 23-point lead before outlasting Washington. Kawhi Leonard led Toronto with 41 points and 11 rebounds, and Pascal Siakim had 24 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. Washington’s Bradley Beal had his second triple-double of the season: season highs of 43 points and 15 rebounds, with 10 assists.
76ers 108, Knicks 105: Ben Simmons had 20 points, 22 rebounds and nine assists, and Joel Embiid scored 26 points for visiting Philadelphia.
Bucks 133, Hawks 114: Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points, Eric Bledsoe added 24 points and 10 assists, and Milwaukee won in head coach Mike Budenholzer’s return to Atlanta.
Ailing Anderson: Memphis forward Kyle Anderson is expected to miss at least two to four weeks because of a sprained left ankle.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Magic-rally-in-fourth-quarter-to-beat-Rockets-13531053.php.