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Washington at Houston

Harden scores winner, Rockets win seventh straight

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- James Harden believed his miscues were partially responsible for the Washington Wizards getting back into the game after the Rockets built a huge third-quarter lead on Wednesday night.

So with the game on the line late, Houston's star was determined to atone for his earlier mistakes.

''I had to figure a way to make it even,'' Harden said.

He did.

Harden scored 35 points and his layup with 0.7 seconds remaining lifted the Rockets to a 113-112 win over the Wizards, sending Houston into the All-Star break with a season-best seven-game winning streak.

John Wall gave Washington the lead with a pair of free throws with four seconds left. Trevor Ariza fouled out when he pushed Harden to the ground on the ensuing inbounds pass. It was ruled a foul away from the play, giving Houston one free throw and possession.

Harden, who was 16 for 16 at the line, made the free throw before grabbing a pass from Chandler Parsons and driving into the lane for the winning shot.

Harden was asked to explain his work on the last play.

''Get to the rim and make the play,'' he said. ''It's simple.''

The Wizards had a chance to win at the end, but Kevin Seraphin's shot clanged off the rim.

Ariza had 11 rebounds and a season-high 32 points with a career-best and franchise-record 10 3-pointers to lead the Wizards.

''It's too bad, these guys deserved to win that game,'' Washington coach Randy Wittman said. ''To have it taken from them like that, it's sad.''

Houston won despite committing a season-high 26 turnovers that led to 24 points by the Wizards. The Rockets were helped by making 35 free throws while Washington hit only eight.

The Wizards trailed by 18 in the third quarter before a barrage of 3s from Ariza got his team back in the game. His 10 3-pointers were the most ever against the Rockets. Ariza was 7 for 7 on 3s in the third and made six in a 4-minute span late in the quarter, including three in an incredible 32-second stretch.

Five straight points, capped by a three-point play by Wall, put the Wizards up 110-108 with 2:21 remaining in the fourth. Houston had a shot-clock violation on the next possession, but Nene fouled out with an offensive foul on the other end. Harden made two free throws with 23.2 seconds left to tie it at 110.

Nene had 21 points, Bradley Beal scored 20 and Wall finished with 19 points, 14 assists and three steals.

Dwight Howard added 24 points with 16 rebounds for Houston, and Parsons scored 18.

An 8-3 run by Washington cut Houston's lead to two midway through the fourth quarter. The Rockets scored the next five points to stretch the lead before five quick points by Washington got it back down to two with four minutes left.

A 3-point shot by Beal got Washington within five with about nine minutes left in the third quarter. The Rockets scored 13 straight points after that to extend the lead to 83-65. Harden had five points in that stretch, and he and Howard brought the crowd to its feet when Harden found the big man for a monster alley-oop dunk.

The Wizards missed shot after shot and didn't score four more than four minutes while Houston built the lead. They missed from long-range, mid-range and even botched two layups.

Washington finally ended the scoring drought thanks to Ariza. He made his second 3-pointer of the quarter with less than five minutes left in the third. He made three more 3s on consecutive possessions a couple of minutes later to cut Houston's lead to 90-79.

But he wasn't done yet, and made two more on back-to-back trips down the court to make it 93-87 with a minute remaining in the quarter. Wall got in on the fun on the next possession, sinking a 3 of his own, to leave Houston clinging to a 93-90 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Ariza seemed unimpressed by his big night.

''I was open and there were good looks and I was just letting them fly,'' he said.

The Rockets used a 10-3 spurt to regain a 52-46 lead late in the second. Howard and Harden each made two free throws in the last 30 seconds of the half to extend Houston's advantage to 63-54 at the break.

Notes

Patrick Beverley missed the game with an abdominal strain, and Jeremy Lin started in his place. ... Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon watched the game from a courtside seat. ... Ex-Rocket Clyde Drexler presented Harden and Howard with framed All-Star jerseys to celebrate their selection to this weekend's game. Harden is in the game for the second time and it's the eighth time Howard has received the nod.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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James Harden provides 35 points, including the game-winning layup with 0.7 ticks left on the clock. (USATSI)
James Harden provides 35 points, including the game-winning layup with 0.7 ticks left on the clock. (USATSI)

Scoreboard
Washington (25-27)26283622112
Houston (36-17) «38253020113
WAS:T. Ariza 32 Pts
WAS:T. Ariza 11 Reb
WAS:J. Wall 14 Ast
HOU:J. Harden 35 Pts
HOU:D. Howard 16 Reb
HOU:C. Parsons 6 Ast
Players of the Game
WashingtonHouston

Trevor Ariza

James Harden
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
321133566
Washington
T. Ariza, SG4211-200-0113632
J. Wall, PG416-195-6114319
B. Beal, SG368-240-045220
Nene, C309-123-911621
M. Gortat, PF283-70-18166
T. Booker, PF203-30-03216
K. Seraphin, C133-60-01046
M. Webster, SG100-10-01210
G. Temple, SG80-10-00010
O. Porter, SF70-10-01020
J. Vesely, PF61-30-04002
A. Harrington, PFDid Not Play
C. Singleton, SFDid Not Play
E. Maynor, PGDid Not Play
G. Rice, SGDid Not Play
Totals 44-978-16352832112
 45.4%50.0% 
Houston
J. Harden, SG418-1416-1666335
D. Howard, C377-910-16161324
C. Parsons, SF377-152-4126318
J. Lin, PG375-83-415316
T. Jones, PF312-70-18034
F. Garcia, SG182-40-01005
D. Motiejunas, PF173-44-640111
A. Brooks, PG110-20-00020
O. Asik, C110-10-03010
R. Brewer, SGDid Not Play
G. Smith, PFDid Not Play
P. Beverley, PGDid Not Play
O. Casspi, SFDid Not Play
I. Canaan, PGDid Not Play
R. Covington, SFDid Not Play
Totals 34-6435-47511819113
 53.1%74.5% 
Other Games
Dal 81 Final
Ind 73
Mem 86 Final
Orl 81
Atl 83 Final
Tor 104
SA 104 Final
Bos 92
Cle 93 Final
Det 89
Char 89 Final
Brook 105
Sac 106 Final
NY 101
NO 102 Final
Mil 98
Den 90 Final
Min 117
Phi 100 Final
Utah 105
Mia 111 Final
GS 110
Port 117 Final
LAC 122