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Recap: Wizards comeback shunned by Harden flop

Rockets 113 — Wizards 112

February 12, 2014
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
NBA.com highlights



The following content may be unsuitable for those with geriatric vision.

In their final tune-up before the All-Star Break, the Wizards faced off against the Houston Rockets in a tail end of a challenging back-to-back.

Much like Washington’s last match-up with Houston, this was a game of staggering runs – minus the leaky roof – that saw the Wizards swing from as deep as an 18 point deficit to a late slim lead.

The teams were locked into a seesaw battle early, as Houston dominated out of the gate, but allowed the Wizards to keep it close thanks to three point shooting (Wizards were 16-32 for the game) an causing Rockets turnovers. During a first half in which some starters couldn’t get in a groove, Randy Wittman trotted out a front court of Nene and Jan Vesely, which sparked an 8-0 run. But the quarter closed poorly for Washington and they trailed 63-54 at halftime.

The second half will be remembered for Ariza’s three point shooting outburst. He would finish a staggering 10 for 14 beyond the arc and singlehandedly keep the Wizards afloat as they remained in arm’s length of a Houston margin that had swelled to 16 points midway through the 3rd quarter.

After taking a 1 point lead at the 2:21 mark of the 4th quarter, Houston would regain the lead following a series of unfortunate slips, including a home cooked foul on James Harden by Ariza that looked to be a clear flop after the players’ arms got tangled. Ariza fouled out, joining Marcin Gortat and Nene, Harden hits a free throw, the Rockets get possession, and Harden glides through the lane for a nearly uncontested layup. Ball game.

Washington closes the first half its season in disappointing fashion – with an all too familiar sub .500 record.

MVP: Trevor Ariza – 32 points, 11 rebounds, career-high 10 three’s

Ariza’s huge shooting night, as mentioned, kept Washington competitive in this game. His 10 three pointers was a career high and the 71% percentage is completely unheard of. Ariza also added 11 rebounds, three steals, and a block. His effort on both sides of the ball is perhaps the best we’ve seen from a Wizards player all season.

Ariza played Harden very well in Houston’s second to last possession before being called for a bad foul. I’m confident he could have gotten a decent look to close the game had he not been watching from the bench.

LVP: Marcin Gortat – 6 points

Marcin Gortat was completely ineffective tonight against the bigger, stronger Dwight Howard. He spent long spells on the bench due to foul trouble, as he routinely got beaten by Howard off back doors and elsewhere in the post. Gortat looked visibly frustrated by his teammates’ lack of defensive rotations, too. In sum, a failed effort.

Gortat would foul out of the game with 6 points (3 for 7 shooting) and 8 rebounds.

Key stat of the game: Rockets outrebound Wizards 51-35

I was tempted to highlight Wall’s no turnover performance since ball control was key to the late Wizards run, but Houston’s huge rebounding performance is too critical to overlook. The Rockets dominated the board, taking a 51 to 35 advantage over Washington to the final buzzer. While it would be easy to blame our starters’ foul trouble and overall lack of consistent playing time, the truth is that the Rockets just plain outworked Washington. Howard and Chandler Parsons combined for 28 rebounds, and Donatas Montiejunas had several off the bench, including some key offensive pull-downs that lead to free throws.

Washington’s poor rebounding, combined with bad free throw shooting (0 for 6 before first make; 50% for the game), will be looked at as key factors in this loss.



Click on image to view Monumental Network video.


wittman sad face (1)

“It’s too bad these guys deserved to win that game and to have it taken from them like that .. it’s sad.”
— Randy Wittman

Unsavory, burnt hookah.

trevor ariza

“…it just so happened that they called a foul.”
— Trevor Ariza


PS – The Zen Master offered an official note of condemnation for Dick Bavetta’s bad call.

we are Hoop District

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