Apr 1, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson (7) dribbles the ball past Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during the third quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Rockets at Nets final score: Brooklyn tops Houston without Dwight Howard, 105-96

For the second consecutive game, the Houston Rockets were without Dwight Howard in the lineup, and for the second straight occasion, they left an opposing arena with a loss. The Brooklyn Nets, led by a big night from Joe Johnson, put on an offensive show at times, and in the end, they held serve for a 105-96 home win.

In the absence of Howard, the Rockets actually received the best statistical night from much-maligned backup center Omer Asik, but even that wasn’t enough to overcome the hole in the lineup. Asik snatched a ridiculous 23 rebounds to go along with 12 points on just 8 shots, but offensively, the Rockets simply couldn’t generate anything in the way of consistency, finishing by shooting just 38% from the field and 10 for 35 from 3-point range.

The aforementioned Joe Johnson led the way for Brooklyn, as the former Atlanta Hawk scored 32 points on 13 for 21 shooting, including a very solid 4 for 8 from beyond the arc. In addition to Johnson, the Nets shot 53% as a team (further illustrating the impact of Howard’s absence), and Brooklyn placed six total players in double-figures, surrounding Johnson with some steadiness offensively.

With both teams heading for sure-fire playoff bids, this one was about positioning more than anything else, but if the Rockets have to play without Howard for long, they could be in considerable trouble.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Brooklyn Nets Dwight Howard Houston Rockets Omer Asik