The Rockets looked like they had their seventh consecutive win under control when they opened up a 19-point lead with 3:32 left in the third quarter. But former Rocket Trevor Ariza hit five consecutive 3-pointers in a 2:18 stretch and when a Wizards teammate closed the third quarter with another 3-pointer, Houston led by just three headed to the final quarter. Trailing by two points with the ball and four seconds left, Houston managed a very unconventional three-point possession and beat the Wizards, 113-112.
As the Rockets were looking to inbound the ball, James Harden was held by Ariza and the foul was deemed an away from the play foul, so the Rockets were awarded one free throw, which Harden made, and possession.
On the ensuing in bounds play, Harden flared up to the top of the key through a Dwight Howard screen and with nobody on him, he drove to the basket, squeezed by two Wizards defenders and softly laid in the game-winner.
Harden finished with 35 points and was 16-of-16 from the free throw line. Howard added 24 points and 16 rebounds and Chandler Parsons had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Ariza finished with 32 points and set a new record for most 3-pointers made by a Rockets opponent with 10, finished 10-of-14.
The game was over when
The Wizards had less than a second remaining to try to launch a game-winning shot of their own, Kevin Seraphin ended up with a turnaround jumper from about 20 feet out and it was not close.
Numbers of the night
The Rockets had at least five turnovers in every quarter. They set a new season-worst with 24 turnovers in the game. Shockingly, they improved to 8-2 in the ten games they have committed 20 or more turnovers.
The Rockets do not play again until next Wednesday, when they begin a five-game west coast road trip in Los Angeles to face the Lakers. Three Rockets will participate in NBA all-star events. Dwight Howard and James Harden will play in the NBA All-Star game on Sunday and Terrence Jones will play in the Rising Stars challenge on Friday.