After two straight losses on the road, the Rockets were looking for a bounce back win when they hosted New Orleans on Saturday night.

That wouldn’t come easily, however, as the Rockets required late-game heroics to pull out a 111-104 win at Toyota Center.

A couple of Pat Beverley 3-pointers, a Jeremy Lin layup and steal and clutch free throws by James Harden in the final minute and a half were necessary for the Rockets, who trailed by as many 15 points in the fourth quarter.

“We were out of sync in the third quarter, and we finally got it together at the end,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.

Slow start an issue

The game marked the return of Dwight Howard and Beverley, who each missed the last eight games – Howard with a strained ankle and Beverley with a torn meniscus.

The Rockets were without forwards Chandler Parsons (sore wrist and hip) and Francisco Garcia (sore back). The Pelicans were without their top player, Anthony Davis, who will miss the rest of the season with a back injury.

Howard and Beverley were both working to get their legs back under them after the time off. Howard seemed comfortable early on, scoring four early points. He finished the game with 13 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in 29 minutes.

Beverley had a slow start, getting his first points in the third quarter. He finished with 20 points and four assists in 33 minutes.

“I played them more than I wanted to,” McHale said. “But they both said they felt fine out there, and they wanted to win. We needed that win.”

Early in the game, the Rockets struggled with outside shooting, connecting on just two of 12 3-pointers in the first half.

While the Rockets couldn’t make 3-pointers, the Pelicans couldn’t miss them. Late in the second quarter, New Orleans hit four straight in the midst of a 17-5 run. The Rockets trailed by 13 at halftime.

The third quarter was more of the same as the Rockets failed to stop the Pelicans. Every time the Rockets cut the lead to single digits, the Pelicans responded with points on the other end, keeping the game at arm’s length.