Heat vs. Rockets final score: Houston ruins LeBron James' encore

Bob Levey

Dwight Howard and James Harden combined for 43 points in the big win over Miami.

One night after LeBron James stole the show with a 61-point performance in Miami, the Rockets managed to squash the euphoria in a 106-103 win in Houston behind a monster 22-point, 16-rebound performance from Dwight Howard.

And fittingly, Howard was the man matching up with LeBron as time wound down. James took a dribble left, stepped back and shot the ball over the big man's outstretched arm, but there would be no heroics in this one as the shot glanced harmlessly off the rim just before the buzzer sounded.

For the Rockets, it was a much-needed victory in the wild West as Houston is now tied with Portland for the third-best record in the conference. James Harden went for 21 points, dished out 11 assists and hit several huge shots down the stretch to help ice the game against the defending champs.

Houston managed to win despite coughing up 18 turnovers against one of the most lethal open-court, transition teams in the NBA. But Miami hit only seven of its 27 three-point attempts and lost the rebound battle by 13 boards, and the Rockets managed to survive.

On a night when the Indiana Pacers lost at home to the Warriors, the Heat were unable to make up any ground in the standings. But they're still just a game back in the loss column.

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