Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images
Wizards run past Rockets, 121-103
Washington tied a franchise record with 18 3-pointers
Photos | Box Score
On John Wall with the Shades sunglasses giveaway night, the Wizards put away the Rockets in the fourth quarter and tied a franchise record with 18 3-pointers, winning 121-103. After a roller coaster of a week winning in Boston and then losing in Atlanta, the Wizards outplayed the Rockets in all facets of the game. Otto Porter Jr. led the way for the Wizards with 26 points, seven assists, six rebounds, seven 3-pointers, and a game-high +32. Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. both added 21 points each, while Wall had 17 points, five steals, and four assists.
The Wizards held the sharp-shooting Rockets to only 14-of-48 (29.2%) from beyond the arc and 42.7% overall. With 23 second chance points and 19 fast break points, the Wizards won the hustle battle against the Rockets. Washington made 18-of-36 of their 3-pointers and shot 53.4% overall. Houston played in Boston last night in an excruciating loss, and their fatigue and showed, even with the return of Chris Paul.
Porter starred in the first quarter for the Wizards, scoring 11 points, including three 3-pointers. Washington was able to both score in the paint and on the fast break early, both keys to keeping up with the Rockets’ offense. The Wizards were able to hold the Rockets to only 3-for-12 shooting from beyond the arc in the first quarter. By holding Houston to under 30.0% from deep in the game, Washington now leads the NBA with 14 games of holding opponents under 30.0% 3-point shooting.
In an action-packed second quarter, the Wizards used runs of 13-4 and 9-0 to separate themselves from the Rockets. Tomas Satoransky had a posterizing dunk over Rockets center Zhou Qi to ignite the crowd and fuel the run. Jodie Meeks led the Wizards with nine of his 13 points in the second, with the team making 15-of-19 shots in the paint overall in the first half. The Wizards would win the paint overall with 45 rebounds to the Rockets’ 35 and 46-44 on points in the paint. Overall in the first half, the Wizards held the Rockets to 5-of-25 from beyond the arc and only 38.3% shooting overall. Washington led 59-48 heading into the locker room.
P.J. Tucker picked up three fouls in the first half, which challenged Mike D’Antoni to mix and match his lineups already short multiple players. The Rockets were already down two big men with Clint Capela and Nene not active, and Tucker was needed to step up in the front court. The Rockets certainly missed a presence in the paint, but their inability to hit 3-pointers made it tough to come back.
The third quarter belonged to Beal, who had 12 points in the third, making 5-of-7 shots and two 3-pointers. However, Beal would hurt his elbow and have to come out of the game after a dunk, but returned into the fourth quarter. The Rockets shot the ball better in the third quarter, making 12-of-23 shots, but the Wizards still led by nine heading into the fourth.
Oubre gave the Wizards the biggest spark at the end of the third quarter and start of fourth quarter, scoring 13 of his 21 points. He finished the night 9-of-18 from the field, making three triples and collecting three steals. Both Oubre and Porter gave the Wizards a huge boost with Mike Scott not available on Friday night due to the birth of his second child. The Wizards would lead by as many as 28 in the fourth quarter, starting the final period on a 26-7 run and winning 121-103.
"This was one of John’s [Wall] best games and he only had 17 [points] and four [assists]," Scott Brooks said postgame. "He controlled the game on both ends of the floor and that’s what I like. He can dominate the game defensively, and I thought he was locked in and it was hard to get around him. Then, our guys off the bench did a good job and Kelly played well, Otto was on fire. I thought that our intensity and our focus was on point, and it has to be. They’re going to take a lot of threes and I thought a lot of them were contested.”
There’s been a lot of talk about the way the Wizards have competed against the best teams in the NBA and those under .500, but Friday’s win proved again that the Wizards can compete with anybody in the league on any given night, especially on their home court. Give the Wizards credit for defending the Rockets extremely well. Ian Mahinmi in particular was excellent defensively on Friday night with a +25 during his 20 minutes on the court.
"We've got to stay locked-in, stay locked in to what has gotten us this far with how we've had success and just keep rolling with it," Beal said about keeping up the intensity against sub-.500 teams.
Next up, the Bulls (13-22) come to town on Sunday for a New Year’s Eve matinee at 3:30pm. The Wizards (20-16) host seven of their next eight games at home.