Rockets at Wizards Final Score: Wizards overcome 54 points from Harden, beat Rockets 135-131 in overtime thriller

John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 68 points tonight in a vintage House of Guards game as Washington was able to overcome 54 points from James Harden and beat Houston in an overtime thriller, 135-131.

Washington’s bench combined for 45 points led by Markieff Morris with 22 points and 10 rebounds as Washington wins their second straight game over a Western Conference foe.

Houston, and more specifically, Eric Gordon came out smoking hot to start this one. The Rockets started the game 10-14 from the field including knocking down all six three-point attempts as Houston raced out to an early 27-10 lead forcing Scott Brooks to burn two early timeouts. For the third time this season, Washington surrendered 40+ points in the first quarter and it felt like this one had the makings of a blowout.

Things changed for Washington in the second quarter when they inserted their reserve unit and started pushing the ball. Some tic-tac-toe passing from Wall to Beal to Morris ended up in a dunk late in the second quarter as the Wizards used a 12-2 run to regain the lead 67-65 into the break.

James Harden put on a shooting clinic in the third quarter. First, it was step back three-pointers, then knocking down threes even while getting fouled; and if the Wizards crowded him? He’d drive right by for the layup. Harden scored 21 points in the period as the Rockets regained the lead 98-94 entering the fourth quarter.

Late in the fourth quarter, James Harden did his dance, stepped back for three and knocked down yet another three-pointer and got fouled giving him 50 points on the night as Houston took a 121-117 lead looking to bury the Wizards. But Washington wouldn’t go away. Big three-pointers from Morris and Beal allowed the Wizards to retake the lead and Porter could have put the nail in the coffin as he had a wide-open three with the Wizards up one but it rimmed out.

John Wall would get stripped on the final play of regulation and after five ties and five lead changes in the quarter alone, we’d be going to overtime.

Washington locked down defensively in the overtime period as Houston didn’t score their first basket until the 1:35 mark of the period. After a few tough shots from John Wall, Otto Porter picked off James Harden and threw a touchdown pass to Beal for the dunk icing the game.

Washington overcomes Harden’s 54 points to beat Houston, 135-131 in overtime.

The Wizards can get stops when they want to

It feels very weird to write this as Washington surrendered 131 points tonight but there were stretches where the Wizards played some very sound defense, specifically, towards the end of the fourth quarter and in the overtime periods.

Bradley Beal did a terrific job limiting Harden’s damage, as everyone in the arena knew that he’d try to take over late. Beal crowded Harden forcing him to take some very tough shots (some he made but you just have to tip your cap in that instance).

In the overtime period, Washington was able to hold Houston to just one point until the 1:35 mark with many key stops and forcing some opportune turnovers.

This is what makes the Wizards so frustrating. They were able to play outstanding defense for 3-4 minute stretches tonight and really forced Houston to work for their shots. But then, there were plenty of moments where it was clear that defense was the last thing on their minds. If Washington could lock in defensively for the entire 48 minutes, as they’ve shown glimpses that they are capable of doing, they’d be a very good basketball team. Instead, they find themselves surrendering 120+ points per night and with an 8-12 record.

The bench has proven to be a huge motivator for Markieff Morris

Just four games ago, Markieff Morris was relegated to the bench for his subpar play. Since the lineup shakeup from Brooks, the Wizards have gone 3-1 and it seems to have lit a fire under Morris as he’s playing his best basketball over the season culminating tonight with a 22-point and 10 rebound performance on 8-12 shooting including going 3-4 from three-point range.

Even though Morris came off the bench tonight, he outplayed Kelly Oubre, the guy who replaced him in the starting lineup by 21 minutes. Morris was on the floor in crunch time including the end of regulation and the entire overtime period, when it mattered most.

The reason Morris has been so frustrating for Wizards fans is that he’s capable of nights like this but far too often turns in clunkers of a performance. The irony here is if he continues to play this well off the bench, will Brooks reinsert him back into the starting lineup or keep things put?


Wizards vs. Rockets final score: Washington walloped in 120-104 loss to Houston

James Harden toyed with Wizards, scoring 38 points on 12-of-18 shooting as the Rockets blew out the Wizards, 120-104 on Tuesday night. Clint Capela added 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting and Gerald Green added 16 off the bench as the Rockets buried the Wizards before they even had a chance in this one.

Harden got anywhere he wanted on the floor. Wide open lobs in the pick-and-roll game? Yup. Pulling up for three in transition? You got it. That deadly step-back? Oh yeah. Washington had no answer. He sliced through their defense for easy layups and did his dance against the Wizards’ big men when they switched on him at the top of the key.

This was a methodical beat down from start to finish by Harden and the best team in the NBA. No need for me to belabor the finer details of the plot.


The inevitable ‘John Wall struggles in his return’ comes in his second game back

Let’s not kid ourselves, we knew John Wall wasn’t going to be fully 100 percent until he got a couple of games under his belt and tonight was one of those speed bumps in the road to recovery.

He struggled with his shot as he was just 3-of-10 from the field and 1-of-3 from 3-point range for nine points this evening. His shot looked flat all evening and as a result, he came up short on a lot of his jumpers. The same thing happened when Wall got to the free-throw line. He didn’t get any lift when he got to the charity stripe and connected on just two of his four free throws (Well technically two-of-five, but one of his misses was wiped off due to a lane violation. Who’s counting?)

Aside from his jumper, Wall committed way too many turnovers, coughing the ball up eight times. There were many instances where he would drive into a crowd, anticipate a pass that wasn’t there, or try so hard to push the ball that he’d stumble over his own feet.

Wall’s struggles were an understandable part of the recovery process. The problem is, Washington is running out of time to get him up to speed. There are only four games left on the docket, which come on two sets of back-to-backs.

Defending the paint remains a problem

Washington cleaned up their act a bit over the last few games but tonight, their interior defense struggled once again.

Washington was switching 1-5 early on and the Rockets made the Wizards pay. Harden or Paul would drive by their man and get an easy layup at the rim or kick it out for three. If Gortat or Morris tried the trap Harden at the top of the key, he made them pay by lobbing the ball to Capela for three alley-oops alone in the first quarter.

When the Houston reserves came in, it was more of the same as they crashed the glass for easy putbacks at the rim. Houston scored 18 of their 35 first quarter points in the key and outscored Washington 18-0 in the paint for the quarter. Don’t just point the finger at the big men; this was a collective team lapse.

Houston ended the game outscoring Washington 48 to 28 in the painted area.

Game Notes

  • Washington’s loss, coupled with Miami’s win over the Hawks and Milwaukee’s win over Boston, creates a three-way tie for sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, as well as a tie atop the Southeast division between the Wizards and Heat. Miami currently holds the tiebreaker over Washington and the Wizards currently hold the tiebreaker over the Bucks.
  • Houston outrebounded Washington 46-36 and outscored Washington 17-2 on second-chance points.
  • The Wizards shot 52.8 percent from the field! They lost by 16.

Next up: The Wizards are off to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers at 8 p.m. on Thursday

Harden & Gordon too much to overcome as the Wiz fall to the Rockets, 101-91.

James Harden notched a triple-double in the closing seconds as the Rockets put the pedal to the metal in the second half and beat the Wizards, 101-91. Bradley Beal was the high-scorer for the Wizards with 27 points including five three-pointers. And John Wall got another double-double with 18 points and 12 assists. The Wizards bench was a non-factor tonight while Houston’s, mainly Eric Gordon, was nearly unstoppable.

The Wizards were very impressive to start this one and raced out to a 23-10 lead forcing Mike D’Antoini to use some early timeouts. The Wizards shot 59 percent in the first quarter and held the Rockets to a season-low 14 points in the period as the Wizards led 29-14.

After a 10-2 run from the Rockets, the Wizards regained the momentum with a 8-0 run of their own orchestrated by the bench. Trey Burke found Jason Smith who’d guide through the lane for a dunk as the Wizards stretched the lead out to 15, 39-24.

John Wall was doing John Wall things in the second quarter highlighted by this pass to Marcin Gortat between his legs for a dunk.

The Wizards shot just 2-13 from three-point range but led 53-41 after an impressive first half effort.

That all changed in the third quarter as the Rockets, behind Gordon, caught fire. Eric Gordon would knock down four three-pointers in the quarter as the Rockets outscored the Wizards 37-17.

Markieff Morris was able to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter on a drive to the hole for the basket and the foul. But Gordon and Harden would knock down timely threes as the Rockets pull away and win, 101-91.

Tale of two halves

The Wizards looked great in the first half. Washington was very active on the defensive end, was getting out in transition, and played pretty good three-point defense on the Rockets. The second half was not so great. The bench wasn’t as productive for the Wizards while Houston’s bench was. Former Wizard, Nene, even had nine points against his former team.

Wizards were a bit out of character

The Wizards attempted 26 three-pointers tonight and only connected on six of them (Beal with 5, Thornton with one). There were times in this game, especially in the second half, where the Wizards were baited into playing the Rockets game. Fast pace and jacking up a ton of three-pointers. The Wizards like to play fast and shoot threes but 26 is a bit out of character, especially on a night when they aren’t falling. Once the Wizards starting jacking up three-pointers and missing, that sparked several runs for the Rockets.

Wizards vs. Rockets final score: Houston knocks down 17 three-pointers, beat Wizards 114-106

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.

Wiz overcome late deficit, hang on to beat Rockets 123-122.

In maybe the wildest game so far this season, the Wizards hang on to win, 123-122 over the Houston Rockets snapping a three game losing streak. Eight Wizards players scored in double figures tonight led by John Wall with 19 points, 13 assists, and eight rebounds. Ramon Sessions scored 17 points off the bench and Jared Dudley was a key factor tonight scoring 16. For the time being, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

The Wizards looked like a refreshed team in their first game after the players only meeting. The team looked focus, was able to run now that Dudley was in the starting lineup, and looked like a team with a chip on it’s shoulder.

Dwight Howard was hot early for the Rockets scoring 12 points on 5-6 shooting in the first quarter.

This game was chippy and it all started in the second quarter when Dudley was called for a flagrant foul on Dwight Howard. Howard looked to hug Dudley and got T’d up himself.

James Harden was his usual self scoring a game-high 40 points and hitting a three pointer with two seconds remaining as the Rockets led 62-59 at halftime.

The lead started seesawing back and forth between the two teams for the entire third quarter. Sessions scored 12 of his 17 points in the quarter as the Wizards used a 9-0 run to take a 90-88 lead into the fourth quarter.

Things heated up early in the fourth quarter. Howard and Nene were jawing all game and things escalated in the fourth quarter when the two big men got tied up and some pushing and shoving ensued. The players were T’d up and both were ejected from the game.

Whenever one team took the lead and looked to run away with it, the other team countered. Harden hit a transition three to give the Rockets a 116-110 lead with 3:30 to play.

The Wizards had an answer. They’d hack Clint Capela and get him to the foul line. Capela, who’s a terrible free throw shooter, hit just 1-8 from the line as the Wizards clawed back.

The Rockets left John Wall wide open as Wall would knock down a three to tie the game at 117 with 2:30 to play. The Wizards would get key stops down the stretch and knock down their free throws.

The Rockets had one last chance down one to take the lead but Harden missed the shot. Wizards win 123-122.

Team Effort: The Wizards are going through a lot of adversity and they responded even if it was just one game. The energy was high, they were making the right plays, and really just looked engaged for the first time in four games. The bench combined for 55 points including Nene who went a perfect 4-4 from the field and Gary Neal who was also a perfect 5-5 from the field. As critical as I am of Nene, he was a stud against Dwight Howard. Nene got under his skin forcing Howard off his game. Wall was a stud with his near triple-double and Gortat notched another double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. It’s only one game but let’s enjoy it for now.

Harden drops 42 as Rockets drop Wiz, 109-103.

The Wizards have no answer as James Harden drops 42, and the Rockets beat the Wizards 109-103. John Wall came up one rebound shy of a triple-double posting 26 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds. Marcin Gortat added 18 points and 13 assists in his first game back since dealing with a personal matter.

The Rockets were blazing hot to start the game whereas the Wizards were ice cold. The Rockets started 9-14 from the field to counter the cold 5-17 start from the Wiz. James Harden got cooking early knocking down threes, getting to the lane, and doing his dance to get open shots. Harden scored 10 points in the first as the Rockets led 30-17.

After a cold start, Bradley Beal started heating up a bit hitting his first two field goals to start the second quarter. Uncharacteristically, Gary Neal came in off the bench and missed his first two shots. Something we’re not used to seeing.

Just when it looked like the Wizards were going to make a late first half push, they turn the ball over on three straight possessions and trailed 56-47 at half.

Harden was rolling. This time doing his step back dance on Bradley Beal who was trying to slow down the lefty. Someone should use the tape from Dudley in the third for a highlight reel as he forced three steals in four straight Rockets possessions all leading to Wizards’ buckets.

With the Wizards on an 11-0 run and trailing by just one, Bradley Beal came up with a loose ball and threw an alley-oop to John Wall. Wizards regained the lead 63-62 for the first time since very early in the game.

Wall turned it on in the third quarter scoring 12 points including several tough jumpers to keep the Wizards within striking distance. The Wizards were able to stretch the lead to six but led by just one, 83-82 heading into the fourth.

James Harden kept rolling and the Wizards had no defense. Tough jumpers, check. Long three-pointers, check. Using herky jerky moves to get to the line, check. He picked on Bradley Beal for most of the fourth quarter.

The Wizards were up 97-95 with 4:30 to play but that’s when everything fell apart. Rockets close this game on a 14-6 run and win 109-103.