Rockets roll past Bobcats
Posted Friday, November 1 2013 at 02:00
Houston- Dwight Howard had 17 points and a career-high-tying 26 rebounds in his Houston debut, James Harden added 21 points and the Rockets cruised to a 96-83 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
Howard spurned the Lakers to sign an $88 million deal with Houston, joining Harden and a team that made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009.
The Rockets led by four points in the fourth quarter before using a 14-4 run to extend the lead to 86-72 with about 3 1/2 minutes left.
Harden tossed an alley-oop to Howard for a dunk during that span. The crowd roared as Howard pointed and smiled at his new teammate.
Another dunk by Howard, this one a two-handed slam, capped the spurt.
The Bobcats were led by Josh McRoberts, who had 15 points. Howard greeted the frenzied crowd just before the national anthem.
‘’I want to welcome you to the first game of a new age, a new team,’’ he told the crowd. ‘’We’re going to give you everything we’ve got every time we step on the court.’’
Houston coach Kevin McHale stayed with the big lineup he first used late in the preseason with 7-footer Omer Asik at center and Howard at power forward. But he switched things up and started Patrick Beverley over Jeremy Lin at point guard.
Beverley injured his ribs in the second quarter and didn’t return. Lin received stitches to his chin, but returned to the game.
Beverley finished with five points and Lin added 16. Francisco Garcia had five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points.