WIZARDS 135, Rockets 131
James Harden puts up 54, but Rockets fall to Wizards
Game 19 found the Houston Rockets staring at a .500 record with the intent of gaining ground in a tight Western Conference. At the end of a three-game road trip, the Rockets faced off against an internally conflicted Washington Wizards team that started the season off poorly much like Houston, but - like Houston - had recently began to recompose themselves.
Houston exploded out of the gate behind an early Eric Gordon 3-point barrage. A headbanded James Harden would back Gordon up with 13 of his own as the rockets exploded out to an early 17 point lead. Sloppy basketball would leave Clint Capela and Marquese Chriss in foul trouble, allowing the Wizards to crawl back. The Rockets would go 1-10 from three in the second and the Wizards would seize the lead late in the half behind a series of John Wall layup drives.
While the score remained close, the Wizards would maintain their lead throughout the third quarter. Harden and Gordon would continue their unconscious assault on the Wizards and as the third quarter drew to a close, the Rockets would seize a 4-point lead. Harden and Gordon poured in 44 points and 27 points respectively.
The fourth quarter would erupt into an all out dog fight with six ties over the final six minutes. Clint Capela would throw down and Harden alley-oop to tie the game at 125 before a PJ Tucker strip on the subsequent possession would give the Rockets the final opportunity to win in regulation. Gordon’s last chance shot would be blocked, however, and for the second time on their three game road trip, the Rockets would head to overtime.
Houston’s thin bench would finally prove to be the difference in the contest, and as fatigue set in, the Wizards slowly pulled away to a four-point victory behind John Wall’s 36 points and Bradley Beal’s 32. Harden would finish with 54 points and 13 assists, while Gordon followed with a season-high 36 points.
The Rockets played without Chris Paul for the second straight night, as he was kept out with what was described as a sore left leg. Gerald Green sat as well with a sore right ankle.
James Harden was the second player this season to score 50-plus points in a loss. Including tonight, Harden accounts for three of the four most recent 50-point losing performances, both of which came last season. Harden is the 6th player this season with a 50-point game.
Eric Gordon’s 36 points are tied for his second highest in his career. Gordon scored 36 points once before in 2010 in a win against the Timberwolves. Gordon also finished with a career high tying 8 three-pointers. Gordon knocked down five 3-pointers in Saturday’s matchup, but prior to that he had gone 15-60 in his previous 7 starts.
Shooting guard Danuel House was called up from the G-League to fill in with Paul and Green both out, and was fed 28 minutes in his first game with the Rockets. The newcomer finished with four points, three rebounds, and one assist.
Clint Capela added his 8th double-double of the season with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks.
Harden currently holds a lifetime winless streak when sporting a headband. He does average 54 points, 13 assists, and 3 steals, though.
Rockets at home versus the Dallas Mavericks, Wednesday at 7 p.m.