It took four quarters, then an extra period for the Washington Wizards to top the Houston Rockets 135-131. Similar to the win over the Clippers, the Wizards had to overcome a slow start before clawing their way back into the game by the half. James Harden and Eric Gordon had huge nights, scoring 54 and 36 respectively. They shot a combined 15-of-31 from deep, including several shots with defenders hands in their faces. It wasn't enough as John Wall scored 36 points, Bradley Beal had 32 and Markieff Morris chipped in with 22 points in his new role. Washington was without Dwight Howard and Houston didn't have the services of Chris Paul and Gerald Green, still both teams put on a show for the fans in attendance. Especially on the offensive end.
John passed Wes Unseld for third place on the Wizards-Bullets all time scoring list when he eclipsed the 10,625 career point total early in the third quarter. He was extremely aggressive in attacking the rim, resulting in 11 trips to the charity stripe. Beal was incredibly efficient while logging 49 minutes of playing time.
At the end of regulation, Harden found Clint Capela with a lob off a high pick-and-roll. The Wizards held Harden to just six points in the fourth, after he went off for 21 in the third. That tied things at 125 with 9.8 seconds left, Washington called timeout and planned to take the last shot of regulation. They got the ball to Wall, Brooks said in the post game presser that John went a bit late. PJ Tucker made the second of two huge plays, stripping John of the ball while attempting a shot. Houston called timeout with a second left on the clock. Gordon got the ball and Wall came up with a big block.
The Wizards showed some resolve in the extra period, Porter scored the first basket. Making up for splitting a pair of free throws late in regulation. Wall followed it up with a nice pull-up jumper after getting a big switched on him. Otto gets a steal and immediately throws it ahead to Beal for the dunk. That gave Washington a 133-126 lead with 1:50 left in the game. Harden hits another three to cut the deficit to four, Jeff Green is called for traveling on the other end. That's when Wall came up with a big play defensively, he drew a charge on a Harden drive. Although it looked like John may have sold it a bit, it was a big stop for the Wizards. PJ Tucker was called for a foul a few possession later with an illegal screen on Green who was hustling to contest a corner three from Harden. Washington held on for the win, outscoring Houston 10-6 in the extra period.
Houston started the game getting everything they wanted on the offensive end, knocking down their first six attempts from beyond the arc. Eric Gordon was in his bag early, attacking any and every Wizards defender on him on any given possession. Harden converted a four point play after being fouled by Beal on a three on the left wing. The Rockets had 30 points with five minutes left in the opening period. The Beard finished with 12 points and eight assists and Gordon had 13 on four-of-five shooting. The Rockets shot a blistering 63% from the three point line and Washington didn't help as their defense left shooters open time and time again.
Things seemed to change in the second quarter, Washington had done enough to cut the once 17 point lead in the first quarter down to 12. As has been the trend as of late, the Wizards second unit changed the course of things. A lineup featuring Beal, Morris, Rivers, Satoransky, and Green started to string together stops. Their relentlessness in attacking the rim put Houston in foul trouble early in the period, the Rockets were in the penalty with 9:47 left in the half.
Wall got going once he checked back in, he did most of his damage by attacking off the bounce. He had 10 in the quarter and Porter got hot late as well, he was moving without the ball and finding open space. He hit a big corner three pointer to cut the deficit to two. The Rockets and Wizards traded baskets to close the quarter, but the damage was done. Washington was back in the game and they outscored Houston 37-23 in the quarter to take a 67-65 lead into the half.
Morris. He's been stellar in his new role as Washington's super sub. As Cardell has tweeted, Keef is playing the Ginobli role for the Wizards and they've been 3-1 since. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds against Houston, logging just under 41 minutes. A true credit to him for accepting the role like a pro, it's definitely changed Washington for the better.
Satoransky. He's continued to impact games in the minutes given to him. The starters were a bit flat and Tomas was part of that lineup that changed the tide of the game. He came in and made the extra pass, his ability to play in several different lineups as either the one or three gives the Wizards an extra ball handler. He also does a good job of using his size and athletic ability to hit the glass. He only had two rebounds, but drew a couple fouls trying to establish position for offensive rebounds.
Brooks. He made a comment after last night's game about him not caring about players feelings anymore. If that's whats led to this change with the lineups and rotations, it's one of the few positives about the rough start to the year. The team has to do better about the slow starts, but they are still playing hard for him.