The Rockets could not wait for the return of Aaron Brooks. They needed a lift and needed it badly.
Brooks’ name could be on the bottom of a Rockets contract again by late Sunday afternoon, once he clears waivers after his buyout agreement on Friday with Sacramento.

But the Rockets have a fleet, diminutive backup point guard, and once Patrick Beverley took the floor to start the fourth quarter Friday night, he was all the team needed.

With the Rockets trailing the Orlando Magic midway through the fourth quarter, Beverley could not have timed his best stretch of the season better, and not just because the team has another guard on the way.

Beverley, who has returned to the rotation, scored 10 of his 13 points to put a charge into the offense. He collected three fourth-quarter steals to provide much-needed defense. He repeatedly had deflections to break the rhythm of a rolling Orlando offense, drew a charge in the final minute and sent the Rockets to a desperately needed 118-110 victory that offered a statement about what he can do in the point guard rotation.

“That was a big reason why we won,” starting point guard Jeremy Lin said. “(Beverley) played about as good as somebody can play. He made every play — defensively, offensively. He did an awesome job.”

Beverley checked in with a minute left in the third quarter, his usual place in the rotation, but he was too effective to take out, even on a night in which Lin was playing well.

Defense suspect

At about the time Lin would normally return, with six or seven minutes left, Beverley set up Chandler Parsons on a break, finished a drive and hit a pull-up jumper. After three consecutive Rockets misses, Beverley knocked down his third 3-pointer, putting the Rockets in front to stay with 4:57 remaining.

“He was huge all game long — spotting up, hitting shots, getting us into offense, hitting that little runner in the fourth quarter,” Parsons said. “He gave us a huge spark.”