WASHINGTON — The Rockets dominated early with an impressive 3-point shooting display and finished with more attempts than any NBA team this season. The Wizards countered by going big and going inside and it paid off when the former league laughingstock took down another winning team.Bradley Beal scored 21 points and Emeka Okafor had 17 points, 11 rebounds and made the go-ahead free throw with 5.2 seconds remaining to help the Washington defeat Houston 105-103 on Saturday night.
Trevor Ariza added 18 points and John Wall had 12 points and 11 assists for the Wizards, who came back from a 17-point deficit for their second straight win. Washington, winner of 10 of its last 12 home games, scored 54 points in the paint to offset the 57 points Houston scored on 19 3-pointers.
James Harden scored 27 points and Chandler Parsons had 24 with five 3-pointers for the Rockets, who had won their first two games after the All-Star break. Houston attempted 46 3-pointers, the most in the NBA this season and three shy of the league record. The Rockets made 13 from beyond the arc in the first half, one off the NBA record they tied against Golden State on Feb. 5.
“We just wanted to make it tough, make them make contested shots,” Wall said. “In the first half they weren’t missing. Second half we kind of got into more defensively, changed some of our game plans up and just executed on the other half.”
Initially, the Wizards used a smaller lineup to chase down Houston’s 3-point threats. In the fourth quarter, they turned the tables by sticking with the interior combination of 6-foot-11 Nene and the 6-foot-10 Okafor.
Trailing 94-88 with 6:21 remaining, the Wizards scored seven straight points, taking the lead on Nene’s layup, one of six lead changes in the final 4:58. Wall broke a 101-101 tie with two free throws with 1:13 remaining, but Harden’s layup tied the score with 21.4 seconds left.
With Okafor being defended by the 6-foot-6 Carlos Delfino, the Wizards fed the center in the low post and he drew a foul.
“I thought that they would stay small,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of his plan on the final possession.
After making his first free-throw attempt, Okafor missed the second, but Beal sneaked in for the rebound and was fouled with 1.9 seconds remaining. After Beal split his free throws, Harden’s half-court attempt was blocked by Ariza.
“They went inside a little bit more,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “But really we had turnovers. We had empty possessions. ... We did not have a good second half.”
The Wizards are 11-4 against teams with winning records since Jan. 7.
“We just step up to the challenge,” said Wizards reserve Chris Singleton. “We executed the game plan the coaches came up with and down the stretch, we’re not our old selves. You see us. We grew up.”
Patrick Beverley scored a career-high 15 points with three 3-pointers and Delfino had four 3-pointers and scored 12 points for the Rockets.
McHale limited Jeremy Lin, who scored five points, to 26 minutes due to illness.
The Rockets hit from long range in the first quarter, sinking 8 of 14 3s for a 32-22 lead. Parsons made his three attempts and Harden added one during an 11-4 run to close the quarter.
Three more 3-pointers came during a 14-0 spurt as Harden’s trey put Houston ahead 48-31.
The Rockets led 57-46 at halftime, but the Wizards fought back with a 19-6 run highlighted by seven points from Ariza and Wall’s jump shot for a 73-72 lead with 3:14 remaining in the quarter. The Rockets regained the lead and entered the fourth quarter up 83-77. Houston missed seven of 10 3’s in the fourth.
“We shoot a lot of 3s as a team, but I think we got a little 3 happy,” McHale said. “We didn’t get enough penetration and enough ball movement.”
Wall and Okafor each posted double-doubles in Friday’s 119-113 win over Denver.
Houston won the first meeting at home 99-93 on Dec. 12.
HEAT 114, 76ERS 90
PHILADELPHIA — LeBron James had 16 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his 35th career triple-double and the Miami Heat cruised to their 10th straight win, a 24-point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
Dwyane Wade had 33 points, Mario Chalmers scored 14 and Chris Bosh added 13 to help the defending NBA champions improve to 39-14.
The Heat have a comfortable 5 1/2-game lead over Indiana in the Eastern Conference. They’ve won four in a row on the road, including impressive wins over Oklahoma City before the All-Star break and at Chicago on Thursday.
Jrue Holiday scored 21 points and Nick Young had 19 for Philadelphia, which continues to fall further behind in the playoff chase. The Sixers entered 3 1/2 games behind Milwaukee for the No. 8 spot in the East.
PACERS 90, PISTONS 72
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — David West scored 16 points and Paul George added a double-double to help Indiana Pacers easily beat Detroit for the second time in as many nights.
The Pacers won 114-82 Friday night in Indianapolis, and led by as many as 21 in the return leg. George finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana, which had five players in double figures and got Danny Granger on the floor for the first time this season.
After trailing by as many as 43 in Indiana on Friday, the Pistons started the second game of the home-and-home set by missing 16 of their first 17 shots. Will Bynum led Detroit with 15 points before getting ejected for striking Tyler Hansbrough in the groin in the fourth quarter.
NUGGETS 113, BOBCATS 99
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — JaVale McGee had 17 points, including seven dunks, and Denver snapped a four-game road losing streak with a victory over Charlotte.
The Nuggets hadn’t won on the road since Jan. 23.
Ty Lawson had nine of his 20 points in the final quarter and handed out five assists as the Nuggets broke open a close game early in the fourth with a flurry of fast-break points. Kenneth Faried finished with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, Corey Brewer had 14 points and Andre Iguodala chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Kemba Walker had 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting for the Bobcats.
HAWKS 103, BUCKS 102
MILWAUKEE — Al Horford’s hook shot with 5.9 seconds remaining lifted Atlanta a victory over Milwaukee in a game that was close throughout.
Horford’s shot came after a driving layup by Monta Ellis had given the Bucks a 102-101 lead with 10.8 seconds left.
Horford had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Jeff Teague also scored 23 and added nine assists, and Devin Harris contributed 21 points for Atlanta, which rallied from a late seven-point deficit.
Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points and newly-acquired J.J. Redick added 16 points and seven assists for Milwaukee. Larry Sanders had 12 points and 19 rebounds, one off his career high.
CAVALIERS 118, MAGIC 94
ORLANDO, Fla. — Marreese Speights scored 18 points, Alonzo Gee added 17 and Cleveland used a big fourth quarter to run past Orlando.
Kyrie Irving chipped in with 12 points and nine assists for the Cavaliers, who have won two straight overall and snapped a six-game losing streak in Orlando.
Arron Afflalo scored 16 points for the Magic in their first home game since a trade deadline deal last week that saw the departure of four players. Two of their three new additions, Tobias Harris and Beno Udrih, finished in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Orlando has lost five consecutive games and 28 of its last 31.