ORLANDO, Fla. – Chuma Okeke scored a career-high 26 points to lead the Orlando Magic to a 119-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night in a game between the bottom teams in the NBA’s Eastern and Western Conferences.
Wendell Carter Jr. added 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who broke a four-game losing streak.
Jalen Green led Houston with 23 points and Christian Wood added 21 points and 11 rebounds in Houston's eighth straight loss.
Okeke, who also had nine rebounds and four assists, scored seven straight points for Orlando after a shot by Eric Gordon had reduced the Magic's lead to 104-102 with 4:18 remaining. His big night off the bench did not surprise Carter.
“We're always preaching to him to stop second-guessing himself - you're a scorer," Carter said. “This wasn't anything that's a surprise to me. I kind of expected it.”
Okeke's 3-pointer broke a 90-all tie and started a decisive 12-3 Orlando run.
Jae'Sean Tate, Kevin Porter Jr., and Green hit 3-pointers to help Houston take a 17-3 lead in the first five minutes of the game, and the Rockets led throughout most of the first half with the help of 12 Magic turnovers.
Okeke's 3-pointer with 1:51 left in the first half put Orlando ahead for the first time, and the Magic closed the half with 10 straight points after Gordon scored Houston's final points on a driving layup with 2:45 left.
“We just had some breakdowns and things that went wrong,” said Houston coach Stephen Silas. “If we could have made some more threes, a few more free throws, maybe it's a different ball game. The stagnant play of the second quarter was not great.”
“That second quarter was huge for us,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “We didn't start the way we wanted to but our guys weathered the storm and started to bear down defensively.”
Wood and Gordon did all the scoring on a 16-7 run that regained the lead for Houston early in the second half, but the Magic moved back ahead with 12 straight bench points, starting with Okeke's 3-pointer and ending with another three by Gary Harris.
“They hit some shots and did some things we didn't see on film,” said Tate, who had 13 points, five rebounds and six assists. “Those are things that allow you to win. We have to start learning from that.”
Rockets: The current losing streak is the third of the season of eight or more games. ... Opponents are averaging 127.5 points and shooting 54 percent during the losing streak. ... Gordon (groin strain) and Porter (illness) returned after missing two games before the All-Star break. ... Wood missed 10 of 13 free throw attempts.
Magic: Okeke played 31 1/2 minutes and had a plus/minus ratio of plus-27. . . . Rookie Jalen Suggs went to the bench with three fouls committed in a span of 24 seconds early in the first quarter. ... When Mo Bamba was whistled for his second personal, the Magic had two starters in foul trouble just three minutes into the game. ... Both players fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Rockets: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night.
Magic: Host Indiana on Monday night.