Wizards 105, Rockets 103

Elliott Smith, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Emeka Okafor hit a free throw with 5.2 seconds remaining as the Washington Wizards 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.
Okafor was fouled by Omer Asik at the rim, and the Wizards big man hit the first free throw and missed the second. But Bradley Beal grabbed the rebound and was fouled, adding another free throw for the final margin.
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.
Beal scored 21 points and Trevor Ariza added 18 for Washington, who allowed a season-high 19 3-pointers, but hung around thanks to 51.2 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 thanks to 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 game with a long 3-pointer with 2:46 left, and Nene answered with two free throws to make it 101-99. Omer Asik drew Houston even with a dunk, but 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 right back to Harden, who drove to the hoop to tie the contest at 103-103 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, who fired up 46 3-pointers. The Rockets connected on 13 3-pointers in the first half, but only six in the second, as Ariza hounded Harden on defense.
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. Rockets coach Kevin 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," Washington coach Randy 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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