On a night when John Wall set the record for the most assists in Wizards franchise history, James Harden would outshine him to the tune of 32 points and 15 assists as the Wizards fell to the Rockets, 114-106.
Wall, Beal, and Porter all eclipsed the 20-point mark tonight but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome 17 three-pointers from the Rockets.
In front of a sleepy, half-empty Verizon Center, the Wizards jumped on the Rockets to begin the game. The Wizards scored their first six field goals in the paint on a combination of drives to the hole and put backs for an early 12-7 lead. The Rockets, who lead the league in three-point attempts, started to get hot from three behind long balls from Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson.
Even though the Rockets started knocking down their threes, the Wizards still led 30-23 after the first quarter.
The first half was a tale of two quarters for Washington. The bench held their own in the first half and was able to maintain the lead, 41-36 when the starters reinserted themselves back in midway through the second. And that’s when things started to get ugly. The Rockets opened this game up on a 16-0 run as Houston would outscore the Wizards by 16 in the second quarter (33-17) to take a 56-47 lead at halftime.
The home team flipped the switch and stormed out to a 14-2 to run to take a 61-58 lead highlighted by John Wall’s drive in transition and dish to Bradley Beal making him the Wizards/Bullets franchise leader in assists.
The lead seesawed back and forth for much of the third quarter. The Wizards knocked down 12 of their 20 field goal attempts in the period to cut the lead to one, 84-83 entering the fourth quarter.
Otto Porter hit four free throws early in the fourth quarter as the Wizards regained the lead early in the fourth quarter, but that was all the team could muster up. Things fell apart late as the Rockets used a 14-4 run behind hot shooting from Harden, Anderson, and Ariza to jump out to a 106-95 lead, which they never relinquished.
The Wizards had one final push late in the game to make it close, but it fizzled after John Wall was ejected after receiving his second technical foul. The Wizard lost 114-106 and are now 1-5 on the season.
No stopping The Beard
James Harden was dishing out assists early and scoring late. The beard dished out 12 of his 15 assists in the first half. In the second half, he took over as a scorer, racking up 25 of his 32 points after halftime. Wall and Beal tried locking up Harden; and the Wizards even through Porter at him from time to time but it was to no avail.
Wiz have best three-point shooting game of the season
Three-point shooting has been an Achilles heel for this team early in the season, but not tonight as the team knocked down 10 three-pointers (a season-high) on 37 percent shooting. The Rockets aren’t shy about shooting three-pointers so it was important for the Wizards to shoot well from distance tonight. If they hadn’t been on their game tonight, this one could have gotten ugly.
Better production from the bench
The bench was much better tonight combining for 24 points. Kelly Oubre and Marcus Thornton hit a couple of three-pointers at key moments for the Wizards. Can’t blame this game on the bench as they were able to maintain the lead or stay within striking distance when they were in.