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Wizards edge Rockets
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 00:32:54 ET
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