Rockets loses to Wizards despite 17-point lead

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 24, 2013 09:40 hrs

Washington, Feb 24 (IANS) A 17-point advantage in the second quarter wasn't enough for Houston Rockets to guarantee a victory, especially when the starting point guard Jeremy Lin only played 26 minutes with five points.

The No.8 team in NBA Western Conference couldn't resist a surge from Washington Wizards in the second half and lost the game 105-103 in Verizon Center, putting an end to their two-game winning streak, reports Xinhua.

"We had empty possessions. We had possessions where we didn't move the ball. We just got stagnant. We did not have a good second half," said Houston head coach Kevin McHale. The visitors tried 46 times from beyond the arc, 17.6 times more than their season average, and converted 19 of them. However, they only made six out of their 18 attempts in the second half.

Lin, who bagged 29 points, six rebounds and eight assists three days ago, was cold-handed from the beginning to the end.

"Lin was a little bit under the weather so we keep his minutes to moderately save his energy," said McHale.

Lin attempted four shots in the first half and missed them all. He recovered in the third period to get five straight points but he turned out empty handed in the final quarter to finish the game.

"I could've played better, could help the team a lot more than I did tonight," said Lin.

Houston forward Chandler Parsons hit five three-pointers to take home 24 points, 19 of which came from the first half. All Star guard James Harden shot a game high 27 points. Patrick Beverley, backup guard for Lin, contributed 15 points.

Rockets dominated the three point line by scoring 57 points from beyond the arc but the painting area belonged to the host team, the Wizards powered 54 inside in the second half, converting 63.6 percent of their attempts to points.

It was the Wizards' first win against the Rockets in more than two years. Rookie Bradley Beal scored 21 points, centre Emeka Okafor took home 17 points, 11 rebounds and the game-winning free throw with 5.2 seconds left. Trevor Ariza got 18 against his former team and John Wall finished 12 points and 11 assists.

Nene opened the game for the home team with a jump shot and the Rocket became the leading side after Parsons and Carlos Delfino hit three straight three-pointers. Harden led the visitors to 17-point advantage by converting a fast-break three pointer in the second quarter, only to see a 9-0 spurt from the host side to trim the gap. Rockets managed a nine-point lead at the end of the first half.

The second half saw a more energetic Washington team. The Wizards kept chasing and levelled the score to 71-all with a little more than three minutes left in the third quarter thanks to a two-point basket from Okafor.

The game remained close until the last minute in which Okafor was fouled and sent to the free throw line. The 30-year-old veteran centre made the first one and the Wizards grabbed the offensive rebound after he missed the second.

Beal was fouled. He also made one of his two shots, only left 1.9 seconds to the away team. Houston, who ran out of time outs, didn't have enough time to change the result.

Houston would next face Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday.

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