Rockets’ James Harden drives for game-winning lay-up over Wizards (VIDEO)
It was an unsual ending in Houston.
The Rockets had the ball down two to the Wizards with :04 seconds left and, as you would expect, Houston wanted to get the ball to James Harden coming out high off a Dwight Howard screen — except Trevor Ariza hooked Harden’s arm, knocking him to the ground before the ball was inbounded for a foul (there was a little grabbing both ways on that play, Wizards fans are pretty bitter about it saying Harden clamped Ariza, and Phil Jackson agreed on twitter, but I think it’s a good call). That was a huge mistake for Washington, and not just because Ariza fouled out. A foul before the ball was inbounded meant Harden got one free throw and the Rockets got the ball out of bounds.
Now after the made free throw the Rockets were down one still with :04 seconds, and you knew they would run something similar to get Harden the ball and a shot at the win.
You didn’t expect that shot to be a lay-up. That’s the video you see above.
Harden popped out to the top of the key off a Howard screen again, caught the ball and had plenty of room for a wide open jumper. He also had a lane to the basket as John Wall was still trying to fight over Howard’s pick, while Howard’s man was so deep (middle of the paint) and rooted to the ground that Harden could drive, Eurostep around him and be right at the rim. It was just terrible defense by the Wizards.
And a sweet shot by Harden.
With that shot the Rockets go into the All-Star break on a seven game win streak.