The Washington Wizards overcame a 10-point deficit after one quarter to grind out a home victory on Saturday night against the Houston Rockets, 105-103, in the friendly confines of the Verizon Center.
Highly touted rookie Bradley Beal continues to improve after a rough start to his maiden NBA campaign, and he led five Wizards in double figures with 21 points.
Beal grabbed a key offensive rebound—his fourth of the game—in the final seconds after a missed free throw by Emeka Okafor. The 2012 No. 3 overall pick threw in four assists as well, and fellow standout backcourt teammate John Wall posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists.
But Trevor Ariza provided an outstanding spark off the bench, throwing together a brilliant overall game with 18 points, four rebounds, six assists and four steals.
As might be expected, James Harden led the way for Houston with a team-high 27 points and six assists, although he wasn't as efficient as usual on the offensive end. Chandler Parsons had 24 points of his own, and he also grabbed seven rebounds.
Houston shot a whopping 46 three-pointers, making 19 of them. However, the Rockets could not overcome 16 turnovers and couldn't stop Washington from shooting 51.3 percent from the floor.
Player of the Game: Trevor Ariza, SF/SG, Washington Wizards
The athletic swingman played a very stellar game offensively, and he seems to be finding his groove after missing a stretch of time with a calf injury earlier in the year.
If Ariza continues to play as well as he has in recent games, the Wizards will be a difficult opponent for more teams scrapping for playoff positioning down the stretch of the regular season.
Up Next for Rockets
Houston will look to bounce back after a disappointing road loss against an inferior squad. The defense must improve moving forward, Wednesday's home game against the Milwaukee Bucks will be a stern test against a fellow playoff bubble team.
Up Next for Wizards
Washington continues to show signs of improvement since Wall's return, but the Wizards will have to get up quickly for a test on Monday against the Toronto Raptors in the Air Canada Centre.