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Harden-led Rockets square off with Wizards

10:07 AM, Feb 23, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - James Harden and the Houston Rockets look to make it three straight wins when they visit the Washington Wizards Saturday night.

The Rockets rebounded from a road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers to hand both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Brooklyn Nets losses. In Friday's 106-96 victory over the Nets, Harden scored 22 points and made 4-of-7 3-pointers, while Carlos Delfino also scored 22 points.

Houston buried 16-of-30 3-pointers and shot 53.2 percent for the game.

"Guys moved the ball, got easy shots, and defensively we played pretty well, but our offense got a lot of big shots, a lot of threes," said Harden, who is fifth in the NBA with 26.4 ppg and is averaging 32.7 ppg in the last six.

Omer Asik finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who have prevailed in nine of the last 13 games and began a stretch of six road games over the next eight. The Rockets are 12-18 away from home.

Houston has won its last 15 games when scoring 100 or more points and the last time it won despite failing to reach the century mark in scoring was Dec. 26 at Minnesota. It has been a double-edged sword this season for the Rockets as they are second in scoring with 106.4 ppg, but near the bottom in defense (103.4 ppg)

The Rockets could have some new faces on the court Saturday. Power forward Thomas Robinson was acquired, along with forwards Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt, from Sacramento before the NBA trade deadline. Robinson, the No. 5 pick in the 2012 draft, has averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds through 51 games with the Kings.

Meanwhile, Washington will close out a three-game homestand Saturday and ended a two-game slide with a 119-113 victory over the Denver Nuggets last night.

Rookie Bradley Beal and Emeka Okafor each netted 17 points and John Wall added a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, winners in five of the last seven games. The Wizards improved to 12-15 in D.C., handed out 27 assists and held on despite giving up 25 points on 18 turnovers.

It was an impressive win for Washington against a dangerous Denver squad.

"Getting back to being who we are," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "You know, 27 assists, that's what this team has to do. Moving the ball side to side, attacking off the dribble, making the extra pass, playing inside out. We got back to that tonight for the first time over the last two games."

Beal is averaging 20 ppg in his last four games.

The Wizards hope to have new forward Jason Collins Saturday after he was shipped to the nation's capital from Boston in exchange for guard Jordan Crawford. Injured guard Leandro Barbosa also landed with the Wizards and is out for the season with a torn knee ligament.

Collins is a 12-year veteran who had been used sparingly by the Celtics in 2012-13, having averaged just 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds over 32 games.

Washington lost the first meeting of the season with Houston, dropping a 99-93 decision back on Dec. 12 in Space City. The Rockets have won four in a row and 20 of the previous 25 matchups in this series.

The Wizards are 5-10 in the last 15 versus Houston in D.C.

The Sports Network

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