The Rockets trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half before scoring 33 in the third quarter to go on top. San Antonio closed to 90-88 in the final minutes, but Howard and Jeremy Lin helped Houston hold on for the win.
Boris Diaw scored a season-high 22 points for the Spurs, and also had 11 rebounds. Tony Parker added 17 points and Tim Duncan had 12 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.
The Rockets were without leading scorer James Harden (bruised left thumb), who is averaging almost 24 points a game this season.
GRIZZLIES 98, TRAIL BLAZERS 91
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Zach Randolph scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds and Mike Conley added 19 points and seven assists to lead Memphis.
Marc Gasol had 15 points and eight rebounds and Courtney Lee scored 12 points for the Grizzlies (23-20), who have won three straight and seven of eight.
Lamarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 16 rebounds as the Blazers (33-13) slipped three games behind Northwest Division-leading Oklahoma City and had their home winning streak snapped at five.
Randolph, the former Blazers forward, registered his 27th double-double of the season as well as his franchise-leading 190th for the Grizzlies, who shot 51.8 per cent and led from start to finish.
PACERS 104, LAKERS 92
LOS ANGELES (AP) — David West scored 19 points, Lance Stephenson had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Indiana wrapped up a five-game road trip by beating the spiraling Lakers.
George Hill had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who stayed atop the overall NBA standings despite losing twice on their West Coast trip. Los Angeles kept it close into the second half before the Pacers finished an easy win over the injury-riddled Lakers, who have lost five straight.
All-Star selection Paul George had his second straight rough game for Indiana, scoring 14 points on 4-for-21 shooting.
Pau Gasol had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers, who returned from a two-week road trip for their 17th loss in 20 games.
WIZARDS 88, WARRIORS 85
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, and John Wall had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead Washington.
Washington's terrific tandem outplayed and outhustled Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson when it mattered most in a matchup of two of the NBA's best young backcourts.
Beal, who was 1-of-7 shooting in the first half, finished 8 of 19 from the floor to go with seven rebounds and four assists. Wall hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:28 remaining, and the Wizards forced the Warriors into several difficult shots in the closing moments.
Stephen Curry scored 23 points before missing a contested left-handed 3-pointer as time expired, and Thompson had 13 points and six rebounds for the streaky Warriors
PELICANS 100, CAVALIERS 89
CLEVELAND (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 30 points with eight blocks and seven rebounds and Eric Gordon scored 20 to lead New Orleans.
Davis, one of three No. 1 overall picks in the game, was dominant at both ends of the floor as the Pelicans won their third straight. He injured fingers on his left hand in the final minutes, but got taped up during a timeout and stayed in.
New Orleans scored 16 straight points to close the first half and opened a 22-point lead in the third, causing some fans to boo the listless Cavaliers.
Kyrie Irving scored 23 and Dion Waiters 21 for the Cavs, who had a 1-4 homestand after a 3-2 trip out West.
Cavs rookie Anthony Bennett, the first pick in last year's draft, scored a season-high 15.
KNICKS 114, CELTICS 88
NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes, and New York avenged an embarrassing home loss.
Jeremy Tyler added a career-high 17 points and fellow reserve J.R. Smith also scored 17 for the Knicks, who lost by 41 last time the Celtics came to Madison Square Garden but led this one by 35. New York won its third straight to even its record at 3-3 on its eight-game homestand, with games remaining against Cleveland on Thursday and Miami on Saturday.
New York is only a half-game out of the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot despite its 18-27 record
Jeff Green scored 14 points for the Celtics, who have lost three straight and six of seven. Rajon Rondo had seven points and five assists, shooting 3 of 13 in his sixth game of the season after returning from a torn ACL.
PISTONS 103, MAGIC 87
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Andre Drummond had 13 points and 17 rebounds, and Detroit snapped a four-game losing streak.
Drummond bounced back from a poor outing at Dallas over the weekend, and the Pistons led comfortably throughout the second half. Detroit has struggled to close out games at home this season, but this time the Pistons turned a double-digit lead into a rout.
Brandon Jennings had 20 points and eight assists for Detroit, and Josh Smith added 16 points. Victor Oladipo scored 19 points for the Magic.
Detroit finished with 17 offensive rebounds — 12 in the first half — and outscored Orlando in the paint 44-22.