• Dominique Croons

Rockets Destroy Wizards 120-104

“But James is deserving. He put in a lot of work,” Wizard’s Coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s been at an MVP level for the last three years or so. Every year, he’s come back and played better. Like all MVP’s, it’s about impact and winning.”

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James Harden proved Tuesday night, that Brooks wasn’t talking gibberish.

The force that Harden placed on the Wizard’s team, was unbearable. Not only were his deep step back shots a thing of beauty, he killed the Wizard’s defense scoring from every placed that he positioned himself in. Breaking through the Wizard’s defense allowed Harden to grab easy points as he effortlessly laid the ball off the blackboard into the hoop. Just short of his fifth triple double this season, Harden showed off for the home arena scoring 38 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.

“It was a great player playing special,” Brooks said unsurprisingly. After coaching Harden in Oklahoma City for three years, the well-played and efficient guard was nothing new to him. “He had everything going. We tried switching, we tried trapping. We tried everything on him.”

Harden wasn’t the only Rocket player that had a break-through performance tonight. Houston’s Clint Capela scored 21 points in addition to Gerald Green who had 16.

Bradley Beal, who led the team with 27 points, acknowledged the effort and great game the Rockets played. “It’s tough, but that is an elite ballclub over there, and I respect what they do and how they play the game,” Beal said. “They beat us. That’s what they’re capable of doing on a nightly basis. We kind of took this one on the chin.”

Although there were no expectations that John Wall would be back 100 percent, tonight showed a slight decrease in his progress. Wall was 3-for-10 from the field and 1-of-3 from three-point range. In addition to that, Wall was short on his jumpers and created 8 of the 17 turnovers for the team.

Houston had 16 shots from the perimeter, which left a taste of dissatisfaction in Brooks mouth. But it didn’t just start there. Two minutes into the first quarter Houston’s PJ Tucker graceful assist allowed Capela to make the first two points of the night, a beautiful alley oop dunk shot.

As the first quarter continued, Capela continued to show his ability by scoring four more points the same way.

By the end of the first half the Rockets were leading by 22 points, a lead that Washington could only knock down by six by the end of the night.

“We couldn’t find anything on the offensive end,” Brooks said. “You’ve got to be able to score against this team because they put up so many points. Tonight, we just didn’t have enough to match their scoring."

Now 63-15, the Rockets have showed its opponents competition in many elements of the game. Winning their 19th straight game and improving their home score, this team is one to look out for.

The Wizards on the other hand have some more work to do. Dropping down to seventh-place tying with Milwaukee, Washington only has four games left in the season. The Wizards will face Cleveland Thursday night.

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“No matter who we play, we have to go out here and compete,” Wall said. “It doesn’t matter in the fifth seed, sixth seed, fourth seed, seventh, eighth seed – every matchup is going to be tough. No playoff game is going to be easy and every guy in here understands that.”