The losing did not last long for the Rockets as they beat the Wizards Wednesday night, 109-103. The Rockets got off to a really solid start in the first quarter scoring 30 points, the complete inverse of the loss to the Nets the night before. The starters showed up big time including another ho-hum night from James Harden.
While the Rockets were up at the half, the Wizards got hot in third scoring 36 points. John Wall could not be stopped in the third scoring 10 points and dishing out 5 assists. Wall stayed hot in the fourth, but the defense clamped up holding everyone not named Wall to 33% shooting down the stretch. Here are my three takeaways:
James Harden came to play
Can't keep Harden down forever. Apparently you can't even hold him down for 24 hours.
That shot chart shows how on fire he was. Last season's MVP runner-up finished the night with 42 points on 13-23 shooting (5 of 9 from deep) 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Impressive.
Harden opened up his scoring with a dribble through the lane, but the Wizards closed up the lane and bounced him to the three-point line were he raised up and nailed a three. The other 39 points came from jumpers, free throws, and plenty of drives to the rim.
Harden's defense wasn't anything that would get him votes for Defensive Player of the Year, but it was pretty good, especially in the fourth quarter. Harden came away with big blocks and tough defense when in mattered the most.
End of half execution
With two minutes left before halftime, the Rockets had a chance to really step on the throats of the Wizards. Instead, the Rockets only managed a three-point shot from Pat Beverley. The Wizards themselves could not get much going (thank god) only scoring four points.
These were Rockets possessions to end the half:
- Patrick Beverley traveled rather than shoot a semi-open three.
- Marcus Thornton took an early shot clock three-pointer, a good shot but a miss.
- Harden sliced through the lane and, when he got to the rim, instead of trying to finish he tossed it to a Terrence Jones, who wasn't looking, and the ball sailed out of bounds.
- Harden passed to a wide open Beverley in the corner for a three, no travel this time, but he did make the shot.
- Beverley, with seconds left, was trying to make an inbounds pass, but passed to Harden, who wasn't looking, ball sails out of bounds untouched.
End of the half summed up as a few brain farts.
Corey Brewer had a nice night as a Trevor Ariza clone
Brewer wasn't exactly Ariza Wednesday night, but he put up his stats. Brewer finished the night with 15 points on 6 for 12 shooting (1-4 from three), 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. The Rockets were also a crazy +19 with the replacement small forward on the court.
Brewer had an impact on the game throughout, but his biggest impact came when they needed it the most in the fourth quarter.
With the Rockets trailing by three with six minutes left in the game. Wall had what looked like an easy run at the rim for a layup, but Brewer got in front of him and distracted him enough to cause him to miss. On the very next possession, the Rockets took the lead with a three, also thanks to Brewer, who tossed cross court to a wide open Jason Terry.
Extra takeaway: How can Terry keep doing this? He is nearly 40 years old, he has been playing basketball longer than a lot of us have been alive.