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Wizards overcome Rockets' 46 3-point attempts

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards' strategy against the high-octane Houston offense was to give the Rockets the opportunity to take as many 3-point shots as they wanted.

Houston happily obliged, and nearly made the Wizards pay for the gambit.

"We wanted to them to take a lot of 3s," guard Bradley Beal said. "We liked our chances with them just hitting 3s all game."

Emeka Okafor hit a free throw with 5.2 seconds remaining as Washington overcame a barrage of Houston 3-pointers and a 17-point deficit to pull out a wild 105-103 victory over the Rockets on Saturday night.

Houston fired up 46 shots from behind the arc, just three shy of the NBA record of 49, set by the Dallas Mavericks against New Jersey on March 5, 1996.

"I think we got a little 3 happy," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.

With the score tied at 103 in the waning seconds, the Wizards ran a set to play to Okafor, who was fouled by Omer Asik at the rim. The Wizards' big man hit the first free throw and missed the second, but Beal snuck in to grab the rebound and was fouled, adding another free throw for the final margin.

"I thought Asik was going to box me out, but I kind of disguised it like I wasn't going to go in," Beal said. "Most bigs hardly ever box out a guard, so it was a long rebound and I was in the right place in the right time, I guess."

James Harden's wild 3-point attempt from midcourt was partially blocked, giving the Wizards their second straight win in as many nights over a Western Conference power.

"That game took a lot out of me, so I can only imagine the stress on the players, but we pulled this one out tonight," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "Ultimately, we knew they would come in and make 3s, that's a given. I told the team not to get discouraged and continue to give it all you got."

Beal scored 21 points and Trevor Ariza added 18 for Washington, which allowed a season-high 19 3-pointers but hung around thanks to 51.3 percent shooting from the floor and clutch free throws down the stretch.

Washington has now won 10 of 12 at home.

After the Rockets took a 94-88 advantage on back-to-back 3s by Carlos Delfino and Dontas Motiejunas midway through the fourth quarter, Washington went on an 11-2 run to take a 99-96 lead.

Harden tied the score with a long 3-pointer with 2:46 left, and Nene answered with two free throws to make it 101-99. Asik drew Houston even with a dunk, but John Wall connected on two from the line to give the Wizards a 103-101 lead with 1:16 left.

Harden missed a long jumper, but the Wizards couldn't get a good look, turning the ball over on a shot-clock violation with 33.5 seconds left. Houston went back to Harden, who drove to the hoop to tie the score at 103 with 21.4 seconds left, setting the stage for Okafor's heroics.

Harden led the Rockets with 27 points and Chandler Parsons added 24 for Houston. The Rockets connected on 13 3-pointers in the first half but only six in the second as Ariza hounded Harden on defense.

"They made some adjustments on defense, but I thought we could have done some things differently and gotten more stops down the stretch," Parsons said.

NOTES: New Rockets players Francisco Garcia, Thomas Robinson and Tyler Honeycutt were inactive because of a delay in approving the Feb. 20 trade between Houston and Sacramento that sent Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich to the Kings. McHale noted the trio would not have played because they haven't practiced, but he was unable to shed little light on the holdup. "I have no idea what's going on, to be truthful," he said. ... Center Jason Collins, acquired by Washington on Thursday, spoke about his longevity in the league. "Twelve years of being able to foul people," the 34-year-old cracked. ... Entering the game, the Wizards had won five straight against teams .500 or better for the first time since March-April 1988. "I can't explain it," Wittman said. ... Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell was drafted by Houston in 1993 and won back-to-back championships with the Rockets in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
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