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Rockets beat Magic without Harden, Parsons

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HOUSTON (AP)

Omer Asik matched his career high with 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and the Houston Rockets beat the Orlando Magic 111-103 on Monday night without James Harden and Chandler Parsons.

Jeremy Lin had 19 points and 11 assists and Francisco Garcia had 14 points, five assists and three blocks for the Rockets, who hardly missed their top two scorers until Orlando made a late run. Harden sat out for the second straight game with a sore right foot and Parsons missed the game with an illness.

Rookie Maurice Harkless scored a career-high 28 points and Beno Udrih had 17 points and 10 assists for the Magic.

The Rockets won for the eighth time in 10 home games and inched closer to their first playoff berth since the 2008-09 season. Houston holds the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.

Greg Smith started the game with a one-handed dunk and the Rockets were off and running. Smith and Asik got any shot they wanted early on and the Rockets opened with a 21-6 spurt.

Orlando offered no defensive resistance inside and also missed 10 of its first 14 shots, one of them an airball from the corner by DeQuan Jones. Houston stretched the lead to 20 with Asik and Smith on the bench resting for the final three minutes of the opening quarter.

The Magic cut the deficit to 11 early in the second quarter, but Asik got open for another dunk with 6:06 left in the half and the Rockets widened the gap again. Donatas Motiejunas finished a fast break with a layup and Carlos Delfino rattled in a 3-pointer from the corner for a 53-36 lead.

The 7-foot Asik had a double-double by halftime - 14 points and 12 rebounds - and overpowered any Orlando big man who tried to get in his way. The perimeter was open, too, and 3-pointers by Garcia and Lin late in the half put Houston up 65-43 at the break.

The Magic mounted a 17-4 run early in the third quarter, but could only get within 12. Lin bounced a pass to Asik for another dunk and sank a 3-pointer to restore a 17-point lead. Asik grabbed his 18th rebound off a Harkless miss and heaved a baseball pass to Lin for a layup and an 85-66 lead.

Asik and Lin were relaxing on the bench in the fourth quarter and the game's outcome seemingly in hand. But Tobias Harris scored six points and Udrih sank a 3-pointer during a 14-2 Orlando run that trimmed the deficit to five with about two minutes left.

James Anderson, who started for Harden, tipped in a Delfino miss and the Rockets hung on to go eight games over .500 for the first time this season.

Notes: The Magic have lost 10 of 11. ... Orlando's first-quarter point total (14) was a season low for a Houston opponent. ... Harris had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando. ... Asik has 31 double-doubles this season. ... Garcia started in Parson's place. ... The Rockets recalled F Terrence Jones from their developmental league affiliate in Rio Grande Valley. The 6-foot-9 Jones has averaged 19 points and nine rebounds in 24 games for the Vipers this season.

Tagged: Rockets, Magic, Francisco Garcia, Omer Asik, James Harden, Jeremy Lin

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