Rockets weather delays, Wizards comeback

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WASHINGTON -- The Houston Rockets and the rain that pelted Washington in the past two days combined to stop the Wizards on Saturday night.

The Rockets recovered from a furious Wizards comeback that saw Washington turn a 25-point deficit into a five-point lead. Houston responded by holding the Wizards scoreless for nearly five minutes down the stretch and held on for a 114-107 win.

Rockets guard James Harden scored eight straight points in the final

minutes and finished with 25.

The rain twice halted the game. With 11:51 to play in the second quarter, moisture from the roof was detected on the court and play was stopped for 35 minutes. In the second half, there was another 22-minute delay.

"It seemed like it took forever," Harden said.

The time of the game, including delays, was 3 hours, 18 minutes.

"I've never been a part of something like that before," Harden said. "It felt like it was a long time."

The Wizards were down 94-79 after three quarters before they started their comeback.

Washington outscored Houston 23-3, including a 19-0 run, to take a 102-97 lead with 5:26 to play.

Harden responded with three free throws, a layup and a three-point play while the Rockets held the Wizards scoreless until 49.5 seconds remained.

"We just buckled down, got some stops and got some buckets at the end," Harden said.

Center Dwight Howard scored 23 points for the Rockets. Guard Jeremy Lin had 18 points and forward Terrence Jones contributed 19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.

"We could have folded, but we found a way to stick together," Howard said.

Houston hung on despite making just 4 of 13 shots from the field in the fourth quarter and committing six turnovers.

"That was crazy. Lot of stops and starts in that game and a lot of momentum switches," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.

Howard passed time during the first delay by playing one-on-one with an eight-year-old fan,

"which kind of got my mojo going," he said.

Guard John Wall paced the Wizards with 23 points and 10 assists. Forward Trevor Ariza had 23 points and 14 rebounds. Backup center Kevin Seraphin added a season-high 18 points.

Both teams were hot to start the game. In the first quarter, the Rockets shot 65 percent from the field and the Wizards 61.9 percent.

The Rockets used a 10-0 run to take a 26-20 lead with 2:41 to play in the first quarter, but the Wizards tied it at 29 at the end of the quarter.

Nine seconds into the second quarter, the leaky roof forced a stoppage in play. When play resumed, Houston outscored Washington 34-17 to take a 63-46 lead at the half.

After rain delayed the start of the second half, Jones had a three-point play with 8:03 left in the third quarter to give Houston its largest lead at 78-53 after three quarters.

"Seventeen minutes, we laid it on the line," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "It takes more than that."

Wittman, who is often brutally honest, likened his team's effort to an AAU team and was angry he had to wait out the extra time.

"Well now, I wish they would have just cancelled it," Wittman said. "Obviously, we've had a lot of rain here and obviously there's a hole up there."

Wizards guard Bradley Beal made just 4 of 16 shots from the field.

"It's a big distraction," Beal said of the waiting around. "You can get too complacent and sometimes even forget that you are playing a game when you are waiting so long."

NOTES: Houston F Chandler Parsons was out with a sore right knee for the third straight game. Rockets F Greg Smith, who has missed 21 games with a sore right knee, was hampered by the erratic nature of the game, Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. ... Wizards coach Randy Wittman joked that he called Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel after Friday night's game when he realized his team missed 14 of its 23 free throws. "I asked him where he came up with that defense on the free throw line. It was some of the best I've seen," Wittman said. ... McHale said his team has yet to play its best this season because so many players have been out with injuries. "The exciting thing about this team is if we get everybody back healthy, and get some time together, I think we have a whole nother couple rungs on the ladder that we haven't touched yet," McHale said. ... Houston has won four straight against Washington and 11 of the last 13. ... The 114 points were the second most given up by the Wizards this season.

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