The Houston Rockets were just gaining momentum as they came face to face with the Washington Wizards this weekend. The Washington Wizards, who are currently in 11th place of the Eastern Conference, broke the Rocket’s three-game winning streak as they narrowly defeated the Rockets (123-122) on their home turf, at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston.
The Wizards were ready to play, even though their coach Randy Wittman suffered a large personal loss earlier in the day. Wittman unexpectedly lost his older brother, Rick, the morning of the game. Though it came as a surprise, Wittman was determined to coach his team through their game in the evening. He told the Washington Post it was a, “tough day, but he was here. He watches every game in a La-Z-Boy and he’s up in heaven watching it in a La-Z-Boy. Tough day, but I’m proud of our guys.”
This victory was crucial for the Wizards, who were on a three-game losing streak and narrowly fell into a season worst of five games under .500. They arrived in Texas fresh from an embarrassing loss to the Denver Nuggets, who have been giving an underwhelming performance this season. The Wizards powered through the game with a questionable defensive effort, the 122 points scored by the Rockets were some of the most they’ve let a team claim this season. Three of the Wizard’s players scored double digits, including John Wall who led the charge with 19 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. Ramon Sessions scored 17 points more for the Wizards, and Otto Porter worked through his back and hip injuries to score nine points in 12 minutes. For the Rockets, Dwight Howard added 20 points earlier in the game before being ejected. The Wizards Nene Hilario was ejected, along with the Rocket’s Howard, for participating a shoving match after fouling each other. Nene was given a common foul and a technical foul, but after reviewing the play, the refs designated both as technical fouls. Howard was given a technical foul in the second quarter, and then a second for shoving Nene.
After the ejection, Harden was given a foul which created a 15-5 Rockets spurt that pulled the Rockets ahead 113-107. The Rockets were able to maintain the lead for a short while, until the Wizards targeted Clint Capela, who replaced Howard. The Wizards followed Capela, a 57.2 percent free-throw shooter, and made him miss three of four free throws. The Wizard’s Wall then landed a three-pointer to tie the game 117 at the 2:27 mark. The Wizards took the lead by four points, with free throws from Dudley and Wall. This loss was a close one for the Rockets, and they worked hard through every play. We’ll see if they start a new winning streak, and continue the losing one, as they go head-to-head against the Miami Heat tonight.