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Wizards take out Rockets by beating them at their own game, with threes

Wizards take out Rockets by beating them at their own game, with threes

The Washington Wizards beat the Houston Rockets 121-103 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Much better showing: It defies logic how the Wizards can be so great against one of the NBA's best teams, then turn around and lose to one of the worst, like they did against the Celtics and Hawks earlier this week. But the pattern continued on Friday night, as Washington took out a very good Rockets team that had Chris Paul return to their lineup from injury.

Head coach Scott Brooks even joked about it before the game, saying "the Rockets are above .500, right? We should be alright." Indeed they were.

The Wizards locked in defensively from the opening tip. They held the Rockets to just 48 points in the first half on 38.3 percent shooting. Perhaps the fact the Rockets had played the Celtics in Boston the night before helped, but there were several defensive standouts for the Wizards.

John Wall (17 points, four assists) was all over the place and had two steals in the first quarter that led to buckets on the other end. He finished with five steals on the night.

It's easy to see why Wall was motivated to show up on defense with the presence of James Harden and Paul on the other side. They are All-NBA guards and Wall was up for the challenge.

The Wizards did a good job contesting threes, which was going to be a big part of this game. The Rockets attempt and make more threes than any other team and the Wizards boast the lowest opponents three-point percentage in the NBA.

The Wizards played strong team defense. There was even a point where Ian Mahinmi got switched on Harden in the first quarter and had to guard him on two different plays. Both times he got stops and one was on a long two which the Rockets try their best to avoid.

Houston picked up their pace on offense in the second half, which was to be expected. But the Wizards held Harden to 20 points and Paul to seven. They shut down the guys they needed to and earned one of their most impressive wins of the season.

The Wizards are now 15-10 on the season with Wall in the lineup and 20-16 overall on the year.

All of the threes: The Wizards beat the Rockets at their own game with an array of shots from downtown. They went 18-for-36 on the night for a very good 50 percent. Those 18 threes tied a franchise record and the 36 attempts set a new mark.

Otto Porter (26 points, seven assists, six rebounds) was the star of the show. He tied a career-high with seven threes. Bradley Beal (21 points) had three and so did Kelly Oubre, Jr. (21 points).

Oubre, by the way, now has 24 games this season with double-digit points in 36 appearances. That matches his total from all of last season in 79 games.

Sato threw it down: Tomas Satoransky can never be called a 'practice dunker' by his teammates ever again. The second-year guard threw down one of the best poster dunks of the season so far and Rockets big man Zhou Qi was his victim.

Injury scare: Beal also had a big dunk, but his resulted in an injury. Beal left the game soon after throwing down with his right hand after he apparently hurt his left arm. Beal was holding his arm and was quickly subbed out. Here's the play:

Beal never left for the locker room and ultimately returned, so it must not have been serious.

Scott didn't play: The Wizards were without one of their best bench players as backup forward Mike Scott sat out due to the birth of his second child. The Wizards expect him to be back for Sunday's game.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before hosting the Chicago Bulls on New Year's Eve. That game tips off at 3:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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Utah Jazz make guard Rodney Hood available, would Wizards be a fit?


Utah Jazz make guard Rodney Hood available, would Wizards be a fit?

Momentum is building towards Utah Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood getting dealt before next month's NBA trade deadline. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported on Saturday that multiple teams have already expressed interest in the four-year pro:

Hood, 25, is on an expiring contract and would provide scoring for a team in the market for offense. He's averaging 16.7 points this season on 41.3 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three.

Hood isn't a very efficient player, but he can stretch the floor. He's also big for his position at 6-foot-8 and is a very good free throw shooter (86.2%).

The Wizards could use help at the shooting guard position with Bradley Beal logging heavy minutes. They have an improved bench after making several upgrades last offseason, but shooting guard Jodie Meeks has yet to establish a consistent role in their rotation due to his low shooting percentage.

The Wizards don't necessarily need offensive help, but Hood could help take pressure off of Beal. He could also play in lineups with both Beal and John Wall.

It's unclear what the Jazz want in return for Hood and whether the Wizards could make a worthy offer. If Utah is taking the longview to build for the future, that could mean a first round pick and the Wizards have already parted with their last two.

Regardless, if the Wizards decide to target shooting guards in the next few weeks, expect Hood's name to come up.


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Wall: A few teammates didn't respond well to recent team meeting

Wall: A few teammates didn't respond well to recent team meeting

Do NBA seasons even count if an emergency team meeting hasn't taken place yet? 

In what's becomming an annual right of passage for underperforming NBA teams, the Wizards recently held a team meeting to address some of the biggest issues that have been dogging them all year. 

While these meetings typically act as motivating springboards that help bring teams together, the Wizards' recent family therapy session might have done the opposite. 

Enter John Wall. Wall, who's already publically voiced concerns over the team's (lack of) effort this season, recently spoke about how the meeting might have rubbed some of his teammates the wrong way:

"At our team meeting, I think a couple guys took it in a negative way," Wall said after the team's win in Detroit. "It hurt our team. Instead of using it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a bit."

That's certainly not a ringing endorsement from Wall, and definitely not something you want to hear after a team meeting. Currently, however, the Wizards are back to their winning ways, coming off a nice road win in Detroit. So maybe it worked!