We asked for a big night from James Harden in the game thread, and we did get it with The Beard putting up 54 points, 7 rebounds, 13 assists, and 3 steals, but he also turned the ball over 11 times, including 5 times down the stretch of the fourth quarter and into overtime. Those cough-ups were critical in costing Houston the game, as they fell to the Washington Wizards 135-131.
The Beard also airballed a triple with under a minute left in regulation, and he also missed a key free throw in overtime to put a dampen on what was otherwise a fantastic game. It was Harden’s fifth straight game with 30-points, which is a personal record.
The Rockets also got 36 points from Eric Gordon, who continues to bust out of his slump in a big way, as he combined with Harden to shoot 15-31 from beyond the arc, but the Rockets got very little help otherwise. Clint Capela did have 17 points, 14 boards, and 4 blocks, P.J. Tucker grabbed 12 rebounds, and James Ennis put up 10 points, but the Rockets’ bench was completely invisible, scoring just 9 total points on the night out of Houston’s 131.
Houston allowed the Wizards to shoot 57 percent from the field, and they allowed Washington’s backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal to go off as well. Beal finished with 32, while Wall had 36 points and 11 assists.
Washington also got 22 points and 10 rebounds from Markieff Morris, 14 from Otto Porter Jr., and 13 from Jeff Green, and they really took advantage of Houston’s lack of depth. The Rockets were without Chris Paul and Gerald Green to go along with the still missing Nene and Brandon Knight, and in fact, Danuel House, who was just called up today from the G-League, played a full 28 minutes of action, including almost all the minutes down the stretch in the fourth quarter and into overtime. He finished with 4 points and 3 rebounds on 1-5 shooting.
The Rockets have now lost three games in a row, all to Eastern Conference teams who were thought to be nowhere near Houston’s level coming into the year, and they also fall back under .500 at 9-10.
They’re going to need to find some serious answers with the season already almost 25 percent in the books and the team yet to find its stride. They’ll be back in action Wednesday night at home against the Dallas Mavericks, and they’ll need to get back in the win column against these teams they are supposed to beat if they have any hopes of turning the year around.