Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Emeka Okafor split a pair of free throws
with 5.2 seconds remaining and Bradley Beal grabbed his missed second attempt,
before also connecting on 1-of-2 foul shots, as the Washington Wizards earned
a hard-fought, 105-103 decision over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
Beal paced Washington with 21 points to go along with four assists and five
rebounds. Okafor added 17 points and 11 boards for the Wizards, who have
won two straight over Western Conference foes and six of their last eight
games overall. Trevor Ariza donated 18 points and dished out six helpers.
"That game took a lot out of me so I can only imagine the stress on the
players, but we pulled this one out tonight," Washington coach Randy Wittman
said. "I really don't know where to begin other than the stand point that we
talked about the Houston Rockets approach before the game. After we watched
Houston make their move right before the trade line this team decided they
would spread you out and shoot from the perimeter. What we have done from a
defensive standpoint made it even harder to adjust in the middle of a game."
James Harden scored a game-high 27 points and had six assists and three
steals. Chandler Parsons netted 24 points, seven boards and five 3-pointers
for the Rockets, who saw their two-game winning streak come to an end.
Houston attempted 46 shots from behind the arc, connecting on 19, although
Harden and Carlos Delfino combined to shoot a mere 7-of-23 from long
distance in the setback.
"Yeah, we were sticky again tonight," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "We
didn't have great movement and our spacing got a little bit funky. We chased
the ball a little too much."
Houston trailed by two points with 33.5 seconds remaining after forcing a key
defensive stop. The team then turned to Harden, who got the ball following a
timeout and deked Ariza through the left side of the lane for an easy lay-in
to tie things up with 21.9 seconds left.
Okafor got the ball down low and drove into the paint to lay it in with his
left hand, but Omer Asik was forced to foul to prevent an easy basket. Okafor
drilled his first attempt from the charity stripe, but missed his second, and
Beal came out of no where to salvage the miscue, before he hit 1-of-2.
Two Harden free throws increased the visitors lead to 66-52 early in the
second half, but Washington clawed its way back with a 19-5 surge to tie
the contest at 71-71 with three-plus minutes left in the quarter.
The Rockets, however, closed the third on a 12-6 swing to head into the fourth
up 83-77 as Parsons' running floater barely beat the buzzer.
The visitors led after one quarter, 32-22, thanks in part to 11 points from
Parsons on 4-of-5 shooting.
Houston led by 17 points in the second quarter although the Wizards fought
back to get within six points with one minute remaining. The Rockets, though,
ended the half with a quick 5-0 run for a 57-46 margin at the break.
Parsons had 19 points and four 3-pointers and the Rockets as a team shot 13-
of-28 from behind the arc in the first half.
Harden had a last-second heave from half court, after he grabbed Beal's miss,
but Ariza stood straight up and blocked the attempt.
The Wizards are 10-4 this season when scoring 100 points or more ... The
Rockets are 12-19 away from home ... Houston entered the game having won its
last 15 games when scoring 100 or more points ... The Wizards are 6-10 in the
last 16 versus Houston in the nation's capital ... The Wizards won the battle
in the paint, 54-34.
02/24 00:32:37 ET
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