Rockets-Wizards Preview

The Associated Press

The Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards are both coming off their lowest-scoring games of the season.

They'll be hoping more shots will fall Saturday night in Washington as each team tries to bounce back from a different sort of frustrating loss.

The Rockets (23-14) started a four-game road trip Friday with an 83-80 loss at Atlanta, allowing a good defensive effort to go to waste as they held the Hawks to 37.2 percent shooting and 10 first-quarter points.

James Harden led the Rockets with 25 points after averaging 37.7 in his previous three games as Houston played its second straight game without third-leading scorer Chandler Parsons (17.2 points per game).

"Guys just couldn't get into a rhythm," Harden said. "Guys were just sluggish tonight, including myself."

The Rockets had a season-low eight fast-break points to the Hawks' 20.

"When we shoot long shots and they get rebounds, it gives them an opportunity to run and that's where they capitalized tonight ... getting out and running," center Dwight Howard told the team's official website.

Houston may be missing Parsons (knee) again Saturday - it's 1-3 without him this season - as it tries to avoid dropping a fifth road game in its last seven. The Rockets, third in the league with 104.4 points per game on the road, have averaged 84.5 in their last four losses away from home.

The latest snapped a two-game winning streak to start the new year and dropped Houston to 10-3 against the Eastern Conference. The Wizards are 3-8 against the West.

Washington (16-18) shot a season-worst 32.1 percent Friday in a 93-66 loss at Indiana, the fewest points it has scored since being held to 65 on April 13, 2012, at New York.

It didn't just struggle from the field. The Wizards went 9 of 23 from the free-throw line, where they've shot 51.0 percent in their last two games.

"I thought we did a great job moving the ball early in the game and sticking with it," guard John Wall said. "But you can't stay in the game when you are missing free throws like we were."

Bradley Beal scored a team-high 17 points, but it took him 18 shots to get there. Wall scored 13 points while missing 11 of his 15 shots, and is now shooting 32.4 percent in his last five games.

"We didn't give ourselves a chance in the second half to win the game," coach Randy Wittman said. "It boils down to your top players making plays to win in a game like this. That's all it is."

Washington scored 29 second-half points and failed to complete a sweep of its three-game trip.

Given how it's played at home lately, it might not be thrilled to return. The Wizards have lost three straight and six of seven at the Verizon Center, averaging 87.3 points in the last three while shooting 40.6 percent.

The Rockets and Wizards split two games a season ago with the home team winning each. Harden averaged 29.0 points in those games, while Parsons averaged 21.0 while hitting 8 of 17 from 3-point range.

What to Read Next