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James Harden’s 38 points leads Rockets past Wizards

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The real Rockets returned to the floor tonight.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets got the wire-to-wire victory over the Wizards Tuesday night at Toyota Center, grabbing the 120-104 win.

The team’s win tonight was much-needed after their lackluster effort on Sunday afternoon against the Spurs. Tonight, the Rockets went back to their brand of basketball and got out of the shooting slump they had been in for the past few games.

Leading the charge tonight was James Harden, which was not a surprise, but he got the invisible monkey off his back, especially from behind the three-point line. The MVP favorite posted an impressive 12-18 from the floor, including a 5-8 shooting performance from downtown that led to 38 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. Harden only has four more games to wrap up his MVP case and tonight he did a good job proving why he deserves that title.

Complementing Harden tonight was Clint Capela, who crafted a 21-point, 10-rebound evening and Gerald Green, who was beating to the drum of 16 points off the bench, including a 4-8 night from beyond the arc. As a team, the Rockets shot 16-46, good for 34.8 percent from downtown. From the floor, the team shot 51.2 percent, a significant improvement from the last two games.

The Washington Wizards have wrapped up their playoff spot, so it seemed like the team was not incredibly bothered to put it all on the line, especially when it went down double digits late in the first quarter. Washington was trying to play catch-up all night but could not match the volume of the Rockets. Washington took 12 shots fewer than Houston and was beaten on the glass 46-36. Their 17 turnovers compared to Houston’s nine also played a big role in why the team was in such a hole to begin with.

Bradley Beal had a solid night with 27 points on 10-15 shooting but the rest of the team did not complement him as well. Markieff Morris and Otto Porter Jr. had decent nights but it was not enough for Washington tonight.

The one negative on the night was Ryan Anderson’s ankle sprain. Anderson sprained his ankle in the first half after five scoreless minutes. There will likely be an update tomorrow on his status, but I would not expect to see him until the playoffs for precautionary reasons.

With the win, Houston improves to 63-15 with four games to play. This is the highest win total of Mike D’Antoni’s coaching career and he has displayed a strong case to repeat as Coach of the Year. The Rockets have a chance to stretch MDA’s record on Thursday when the Blazers come to town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. CT.