Sports

Gordon’s late basket lift Rockets over Magic


Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon #10 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Toyota Center on December 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

Eric Gordon scored with 1.6 seconds left and the Houston Rockets extended their winning streak to five games with a 118-116 victory over the visiting Orlando Magic Friday at Toyota Center.

Gordon tallied 24 points and Christian Wood scored 16 of his 20 points in the third quarter while adding 14 rebounds for Houston. Cole Anthony, who paired 26 points with seven assists, missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Orlando, which suffered its eighth loss in nine games.

Terrence Ross scored 12 points in the fourth quarter for Orlando, but Alperen Sengun and Garrison Mathews countered Ross’ outburst with 3-pointers that helped Houston grab a 114-101 lead when Wood scored in the paint with 4:09 left.

The Magic responded with a 13-0 run that featured eight points from Anthony and a Franz Wagner 3-pointer in transition. Gordon stopped that rally with a runner, but Mo Bamba dunked off a feed from Wagner that pulled the Magic even with 16.7 seconds. That set the stage for Gordon.

The Rockets played the second half without guard Kevin Porter Jr., who posted eight points and six assists before aggravating a bothersome left thigh contusion late in the second quarter.

Wagner had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists while Wendell Carter Jr. added 10 points and 16 boards for the Magic. Mathews scored 16 and Sengun 13 off the bench for Houston.

Porter and Wood undergirded the Houston offense in the first period, combining for eight of the Rockets’ 10 assists. While Porter paired eight points with five assists, Wood helped distribute the ball (three assists) while grabbing seven rebounds. Houston had just one unassisted basket in the first quarter and committed just two turnovers, two keys behind a 31-24 lead entering the second quarter.

But Anthony found his offensive thrust in the second quarter and Carter started to assert himself in the paint as Orlando seized momentum. Anthony sank a 3-pointer at the 7:33 mark to give the Magic a 41-40 lead. Carter later assisted on a Wagner 3-pointer following his offensive rebound and added a pair of baskets at the rim.

Two free throws, one each from Bamba and Gary Harris, completed the Orlando comeback as the Magic carried a 56-54 lead into the break.

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