As has been the cast most of the time for the Wizards this season, a double-digit lead evaporated quickly in a disastrous second quarter as they lost for the fifth time in six games at Verizon Center on Monday.
John Wall, who returned to action after being held out of Saturday’s game because it was a back-to-back and he is rounding into form off knee surgeries,
But while the Wizards paid special attention to James Harden (32 points) to keep him from scoring 42 as he did in their last meeting last season, his supporting cast had high-percentage looks. Ryan Anderson (23 points), Clint Capela (14 points) and Trevor Ariza (15 points) combined to shoot 14-for-23 in the first half alone.
Otto Porter (20 points, eight rebounds) contributed heavily along with Bradley Beal (20 points) and Marcin Gortat (14 points, 12 rebounds), but in the end they couldn't get enugh stops.
Wall had two turnovers -- the second one coming after a timeout -- as the Rockets started to pull away with a 10-0 run. The Wizards still had a chance when they made it a two-possession game with 33.6 seconds.
- Wall took up the challenge to defend Harden and did well considering he is probably the NBA's best scorer. Wall picked up the second technical foul of the season after being upset over a no-call on a drive and missed layup. He got another one late in the fourth and was ejected wth 33.6 seconds left. It'll cost him $2,000 per technical.
- Until Markieff Morris’ three-pointer with 6:50 left in the third quarter, he’d missed 17 shots in a row going back to the previous game with the Orlando Magic. He had a major skill advantage on Anderson but didn't have the success he'd had in earlier games vs. Paul Millsap and Serge Ibaka.
- Kelly Oubre (10 points) had his best offensive game of the season after not getting off the bench two games ago. He was 2-for-3 on three-point shots that bailed out the offense low in the shot clock. Catch-and-shoot threes are what he’s best at in his development.
- The second unit that started the fourth quarter was the best of the season to get the Wizards back into the game: Tomas Satoransky (two points), Marcus Thornton (eight points), Oubre, Porter and Jason Smith (four points). When Wall and Beal returned with 7:37 left in the fourth, they were handed a rare 93-91 lead. Trey Burke played six minutes early but never left the bench again.
- Oubre was out of the rotation two games ago and is back in. This time it was Andrew Nicholson who didn't play off the bench for the first time.
- Anderson, who was a primary free agent target during the offseason, was bypassed after the Rockets offered him $20 million and the Wizards went with Ian Mahinmi instead. Mahinmi has yet to play because of knee surgery.