After extending their winning streak to six games on Monday night, the Houston Rockets returned home for one last game before the All Star Break. The Rockets were looking to head into the break with a seven game winning streak, while the Washington Wizards came in to town to show that they can play. So, did the Houston Rockets push their winning streak to seven games, or did the Washington Wizards pull an upset?
After seeing the Houston Rockets pull out the win in D.C. earlier on this year vs the Wizards, and seeing the success of the Rockets as of late, the Houston Rockets were supposed to come out tonight and put the Wizards away fast. The Wizards were also coming off of a game yesterday which they lost and usually when teams have “back-to-backs”, they usually have a hard time winning both. The Wizards however, with their play as of late, maybe coming into Houston to pull off the upset. The biggest factor that most people would predict, would be the Rockets not being able to taking full advantage of teams they are supposed to beat. We all have experienced the games where they had a huge lead and then either blow it and lose or just barely hang on. Tonight, they should take care of business early, or else they might be in trouble.
In the first quarter, the Houston Rockets were actually off to a fast start. They jumped on the Wizards early 9-0, and looked as if they were playing the style of basketball that they like to play. Early on, the Rockets were having success going down low to Dwight Howard. Marcin Gortat and Nene both could not stop him. Basically give up the easy 2, or foul him and hope for misses. James Harden of course, was doing “Harden things”. Whether he draws fouls or busts through defenders for an easy bucket, he simply found holes in the Wizards defense. At the end of the first quarter, the Houston Rockets led, 38-26.
To the second quarter they went. Dwight Howard and James Harden kept doing their thing, but the Wizards never went away and just kept playing and eventually narrowed the deficit. Throughout the first half, Marcin Gortat and Nene were both in foul trouble so the Rockets kept on going to Dwight. Meanwhile on the other end, the Wizards just kept nailing shots from behind the arc. Most of the Wizards production came from behind the arc, unless they were on a fast break and could score easily. At the end of the second quarter, the score was 63-54.
As the second half approached, the Rockets knew that a nine point lead wasn’t safe. After halftime would’ve been the perfect time for the Rockets to go on a huge run and run away. They did go on a huge run, but we all know, the Rockets lead doesn’t mean anything, of course. That statement came into play. After a parade of threes, the Wizards climbed right back into the game. Trevor Ariza had the hot hand in the quarter, nailing seven threes. What is with former Rockets coming to town, lighting up the scoreboard? After that huge run by the Wizards, the score at the end of the third quarter was 93-90.
As the fourth quarter rolled along, all of us could only hope for the Rockets to hang on. This quarter had my heart beating the whole way through. Both teams weren’t shooting the ball well, and when the Rockets enter “cold streaks”, that is not a good sign. Story of this whole entire game and the fourth quarter especially, was turnovers. The Houston Rockets after having a stretch of games without as many turnovers, had one of their most horrific games tonight. Turnover after turnover. Turnovers kept the Wizards in the game and continued to haunt the Rockets.
Despite the back-and-fourth play, lets cut to the chase and describe the result. With no shot clock, the Wizards had the ball with a chance to win it. The game was tied at 110 when all of a sudden Chandler Parsons committed a huge mistake. With John Wall trying to shoot the ball over Dwight Howard, Chandler Parsons came from behind and fouled Wall with 4 seconds left. Wall hit both free throws, and the Wizards had the lead 112-110.
With four seconds left, everyone’s heart was beating. Praying for a miracle that would hopefully be answered. Coming out of the timeout, Trevor Ariza made what could be the biggest mistake of his NBA career. With 4 seconds left before the inbound pass, Ariza fouled Harden. With that incident taking place, Harden will shoot one free throw and they will get the ball back. So with Harden perfect at the line, he nailed the free throw to bring the Rockets within 1. After making the free throw, Harden then received the inbound pass and sliced his way to the basket for the game winner. With under a second left, the Wizards had time to catch and shoot but the shot by Kevin Seraphin was no good. The Rockets pulled out one of the most improbable wins that an NBA fan will ever see.
Tthe Houston Rockets now head into the All Star Break with a 7 game winning streak and a sigh of relief. No win comes easy in the NBA, but no matter how ugly it can be, a win is a win. The next game for the Rockets is a week from today. The Rockets will travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers. The game is scheduled to start at 9:30, and can be seen on CSN Houston or ESPN.