NBA regular season

Jalen Green bests Paolo Banchero as Rockets deny Magic comeback

Jalen Green bests Paolo Banchero as Rockets deny Magic comeback

Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) drives to the basket as Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) defends during the second quarter at Amway Center

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports-Reuters

Fil-Am star and 2021 No. 2 pick Jalen Green drops 34 points as 2022 No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero scores 30 in the Houston Rockets' wild road win over the Orlando Magic

Filipino-American star Jalen Green scored a game-high 34 points to lead five in double figures as the Houston Rockets snapped a six-game skid with a wild 134-127 road win over the Orlando Magic on Monday (Tuesday, November 8, Manila time).

Houston held on despite nearly blowing 124-107 lead with just over five minutes to play. Behind Paolo Banchero (30 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Franz Wagner (23 points on 9-of-12 shooting), the Magic kept rallying before finally running out of steam.

KJ Martin scored 21 off the Houston bench while hitting 4 of 8 3-pointers. Alperen Sengun posted 20 points and 10 rebounds while Eric Gordon added 19 points and five threes as the Rockets made a season-high 24 3-pointers while shooting a robust 50 percent from behind the arc.

Kevin Porter Jr. (17 points, 11 assists) also had a double-double for the Rockets. Banchero became the fifth teenager in NBA history to record back-to-back 30-point games, joining LeBron James (2003), Devin Booker (2016), Luka Doncic (2019) and Zion Williamson (2020).

With Green scoring 12 points in the third, the Rockets appeared to seize control with a 20-4 run for a 100-83 lead on a Gordon free throw. But the Magic scored the final five points of the period, capped by a wild Chuma Okeke buzzer-beater, and extended that rally into the fourth, closing to within 103-100 on an extended 17-3 run that included a flurry of Terrence Ross jumpers.

But the Rockets followed with a three-point play from Sengun before Daishen Nix, Tari Eason and Martin drilled threes in succession to build the lead to 115-100.

When the Rockets again extended to a 17-point advantage, the Magic mustered a reply, and when Ross (21 points, 15 in the fourth quarter) hit a corner 3 with 45.2 seconds left, Orlando sliced the margin to 131-127.

The Rockets made just one basket inside of the arc in the first, but with Gordon and Green combining to drill 6 of 9 3-pointers, Houston shot a blistering 9 of 18 from deep en route to a 33-30 lead entering the second.

The Rockets utilized a 12-4 closing run to secure that advantage after the teams combined for three ties and seven lead changes in the first period.

Houston cooled a bit in the second but not by much. The Rockets amassed a season-high 71 points in the first half while shooting 14 of 30 from beyond the arc with those made threes also a season best for any half.

The Rockets also shot 9 of 12 from inside the arc in the second quarter to help fend off the Magic, who poured in 36 paint points while shooting 65.8 percent overall. –

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