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Houston at Washington

Rockets topple Wizards after pair of rain delays

CBSSports.com wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Dwight Howard played the role of NBA rain delay entertainer, playing one-on-one with some kids from the front row and playfully rejecting their shots. Maybe a baseball team should borrow him the next time some summer storms are in the forecast.

The pair of stoppages, due to a leak in the Verizon Center roof on a rainy day, would have been more than enough to make the game memorable, but why stop there? Let's have Howard and his heavily favored team play like gangbusters each time the water was mopped up. Then blow a 25-point lead. Then come from five down in the fourth quarter to win it.

Yep, that Houston Rockets' 114-107 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night was somethin' else altogether.

"The craziest game ever?" Howard said. "Yeah, I would say that."

Long after the delays of 35 and 22 minutes, James Harden tied the score with a driving layup with 2:33 to play, then gave the Rockets the lead again -- this time for good -- with a three-point play with 1:54 remaining. He finished with 25 points to lead the Rockets, who made only four field goals in the final period yet closed with a 17-5 run.

"It was a long game," Harden said. "A leakage in the court. I've never been a part of something like that before."

Neither had Howard, who ran the gamut of good and bad. He did the most to keep the fans engaged during the interruptions in play, signing an autograph or two and playing with the youngsters. The crowd reacted with exaggerated gasps when Howard would slap a shot in the seats -- "They told me to protect the house," Howard joked -- and cheered when one of the kids scored.

"I've got to work on my defense," Howard deadpanned, "if I want to get defensive player of the year."

Howard also dominated the game well into the second half before falling apart in the fourth quarter, committing four turnovers and missing both of his field goals and all four free throw attempts. He finished with 23 points.

"I did OK," Howard said. "I think in the second half I didn't finish like I needed to. I wasn't as aggressive as I was in the first half."

Terrence Jones added 19 points and 17 rebounds, and Jeremy Lin added 18 points and eight assists for the Rockets, who are 1-1 halfway through a four-game road trip.

John Wall led Washington's comeback and finished with 23 points and 10 assists, Trevor Ariza had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Kevin Seraphin -- another catalyst in Washington's surge -- had all of his season-high 18 points in the second half. The Wizards lost their fourth straight home game and fell to 2-14 against teams that are currently .500 or better.

"Now I wish they would have just canceled it," Washington coach Randy Wittman said.

The leak caused the officials to hit the pause button 9 seconds into the second quarter and again at the start of the second half. Trash cans and an array of towels were spread at the midcourt line close to the scorer's table. Several people were in the rafters, apparently trying to solve the problem.

The wet mess was an obvious black eye for the Wizards franchise, and the team seemed intent on matching it with their play. After shooting 62 percent in the first quarter, Washington made only 6 of 24 field goal attempts (25 percent) for the rest of the half. The Rockets went on a 34-13 run to seemingly break open a tie game after the first delay.

The towels and trash cans reappeared after halftime. Wittman said the leak was finally stopped after a tarp was laid on the arena's roof. The Rockets, already with a 17-point lead, again were able to get themselves in gear faster than the Wizards, going on a 15-7 run after the restart.

But the Wizards eventually regrouped and came back. Then the Rockets came back. The wet floor never did.

"Obviously we've had a lot of rain here," Wittman said. "And obviously there's a hole up there somewhere."


The Rockets are 11-3 against the Eastern Conference; the Wizards are 3-9 against the West. ... Houston F Chandler Parsons missed his third consecutive game with a sore right knee. ... Washington has lost seven of eight at home, another frustration for Wittman. "We just go out and play like it's an AAU game," the coach said.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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A leak in the roof at the Verizon Center halts play between the Rockets and Wizards. Washington's play is equally messy. (USATSI)
A leak in the roof at the Verizon Center halts play between the Rockets and Wizards. Washington's play is equally messy. (USATSI)
Houston (24-14) «29343120114
Washington (16-19)29173328107
HOU:J. Harden 25 Pts
HOU:T. Jones 17 Reb
HOU:J. Lin 8 Ast
WAS:T. Ariza 23 Pts
WAS:T. Ariza 14 Reb
WAS:J. Wall 10 Ast
Players of the Game

Terrence Jones

Trevor Ariza

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Houston Rockets Preview
J. Lin, PG435-118-1028518
J. Harden, SG387-148-985225
D. Howard, C3410-173-1072523
T. Jones, PF307-145-5171319
R. Brewer, SG171-20-01012
F. Garcia, SG312-30-04336
O. Casspi, SF184-54-422314
A. Brooks, PG151-50-01103
G. Smith, PF131-22-41034
C. Parsons, SFDid Not Play
O. Asik, CDid Not Play
P. Beverley, PGDid Not Play
D. Motiejunas, PFDid Not Play
I. Canaan, PGDid Not Play
R. Covington, SFDid Not Play
Totals 38-7330-42432225114
T. Ariza, SG457-166-7142423
J. Wall, PG438-226-8210423
B. Beal, SG274-165-522313
M. Gortat, PF202-41-23345
T. Booker, PF184-50-04038
Nene, C273-102-610658
M. Webster, SG231-30-03033
K. Seraphin, C238-132-351418
J. Vesely, PF71-20-03012
G. Temple, SG62-30-01014
O. Porter, SF30-10-00000
A. Harrington, PFDid Not Play
C. Singleton, SFDid Not Play
E. Maynor, PGDid Not Play
G. Rice, SGDid Not Play
Totals 40-9522-31472432107
Other Games
Brook 80 Final
Tor 96
Pho 108 Final
Det 110
NY 102 Final
Phi 92
Char 97 Final
Chi 103
Mil 85 Final
OKC 101
NO 107 Final
Dal 110
Orl 94 Final
Den 120
Bos 104 Final
Port 112