When the Houston Rockets came back to earth Saturday at Orlando, they did it with a thud.
The Magic, a force to contend with at home, jumped in front early and scored a 114-82 victory that ended the Rockets’ 13-game winning streak.
Warned before the game by Coach Don Chaney that they had to be ready to play against every team, the Rockets weren’t.
Houston shot atrociously, handled the ball poorly and played little defense. The Rockets fell behind, 26-12, in the first quarter and fell apart in the fourth quarter.
An example of the Rockets’ lack of offense was center Hakeem Olajuwon. In the first half, he missed all five shots and picked up his third foul midway through the second quarter. He awoke in the second half, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Rockets, who shot as high as 60% during the streak, made only 30.7% of their shots and 55.6% free throws. They were 0 for 15 on three-point attempts. Their starting five made only 23 of 71 shots, and the reserves were worse.
“We didn’t come out ready to play,” Chaney said. “Then, when we weren’t shooting well, we didn’t show poise on offense and didn’t play good defense.”
Scott Skiles, who has led the Magic to a 20-16 record at home, had 25 points and 14 assists.
“Give some of the credit to us,” Coach Matt Guokas said. “We played our best defense of the season.”
Portland 121, Minnesota 91--The Trail Blazers started fast at Portland and breezed to the victory that increased their lead in the Pacific Division to three games over the Lakers. The Trail Blazers have 11 games to play.
Buck Williams had 14 of his 18 points in the first half when Portland, a slow starter in its two previous games, opened a 66-46 lead on its way to its sixth victory in a row.
Tony Campbell had 26 points and Pooh Richardson 23 for the Timberwolves.
San Antonio 130, Denver 116--David Robinson gave the Spurs a big lift at San Antonio and they extended their lead in the Midwest Division to one game over Utah.
With Denver ahead, 26-13, Robinson scored eight of his 31 points in a 21-6 run that put the Spurs in front to stay.
Seattle 115, Dallas 102--Although he spent most of the last quarter on the bench with five fouls, Shawn Kemp scored 23 points at Seattle to spark the SuperSonics.
In winning their second in a row, the Sonics moved to within four victories of clinching a playoff spot. They have 10 games left.
New York 130, New Jersey 117--John Starks made his first nine shots and scored 25 points at East Rutherford, N.J., as the Knicks ended a four-game losing streak.
Milwaukee 104, Atlanta 96--Frank Brickowski had 23 points and Fred Roberts grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the Bucks at Milwaukee.