James Harden recorded his ninth triple-double of the season leading the Houston Rockets to a low-scoring 101-91 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday.
The Rockets superstar and the leading MVP candidate this season had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists though he shot just 6-of-23 from the field and had six turnovers.
But that was enough for a Rockets squad that trailed 29-14 after the first quarter and 53-41 after the first half. Houston outscored Washington, 37-17 in the third quarter and played great defense in the second half.
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The game was still close late in the fourth with the game tied at 82-82 with 4:43 to go in the game. Eric Gordon hit a three-pointer and the Rockets never relinquished the lead. Gordon came off the bench to score a game-high 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting including six three-pointers.
Gordon also made some clutch shots down the stretch when the Wizards attempted at a final rally to steal the game.
This was a rare low-scoring output for the Rockets, who are second in the league in team scoring at nearly 115 points per game. But their defense stepped up in the game against the Wizards, which shot just 43.7% overall from the field and 23.1% from the three-point area.
Bradley Beal led the way for the losing side with 27 points and John Wall had a double-double of 18 points and 12 assists but had five turnovers.
This was a nice warm-up for Harden and the Rockets, who will face Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in their next game. Houston shoots for a sixth consecutive victory in that one.
Meanwhile, the Wall and the Wizards dropped to 3-11 on the road this season and had a three-game winning streak snapped.
The Wizards lost but Wall completed this crazy between the legs pass against Houston:
Video Courtesy: YouTube/Ximo Pierto
Photo Courtesy: Allison/Wikimedia Commons