Rockets 97, Spurs 90
Howard's final tally belied a frustrating personal offensive effort that included missing 10-of-15 shots.
The Spurs (33-12) led 46-39 at the break the advantage evaporated quickly as the Rockets (30-17) out-scored San Antonio 33-18 in the third quarter.
The Rockets improved to 3-0 against the Spurs this season with the visitors paced by Boris Diaw, who scored 22 points and 11 rebounds.
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Pelicans 100, Cavaliers 89
Anthony Davis led all scorers with 30 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks in the New Orleans Pelicans' victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Eric Gordon added 20 points, seven rebounds and a game-high nine assists for the Pelicans (19-25), who have now won three in a row.
Guard Kyrie Irving paced the Cavaliers (16-29) with 23 points and five assists.
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Knicks 114, Celtics 88
The New York Knicks got revenge for their worst loss of the season from the Boston Celtics by romping over their Atlantic Division rivals.
Boston (15-32) defeated the Knicks by 41 points, 114-73, on December 8.
In the rematch, Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 24 points, despite sitting out the fourth quarter of the blowout, and the Knicks (18-27) evened their eight-game homestand at 3-3.
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Pistons 103, Magic 87
Brandon Jennings scored 20 points - the fourth straight game he has reached the 20-point mark - and the Detroit Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak with a romp past the Orlando Magic.
Josh Smith contributed 16 points for the Pistons (18-27) while guard Victor Oladipo's haul of 19 led the Magic (12-34).