NationalSports

Wizards Blast Slumping Rockets

After a demoralizing loss Wednesday to the woeful Atlanta Hawks, the Washington Wizards rebounded at home Friday night, defeating the suddenly sputtering Houston Rockets 121-103 behind Otto Porter Jr.’s game-high 26 points.

Porter also had seven assists and six rebounds in the win over Houston, which has lost five straight games after a 25-4 start this season.

The Rockets entered Friday leading the league in 3-point attempts and second in free-throw attempts, but only shot 14-of-48 (29 percent) from beyond the arc.

Rockets guard James Harden, who Wizards head coach Scott Brooks coached his first three years in Oklahoma City, leads the league with 32 ppg, but scored only 20 points and attempted just six free throws.

“I liked to say we were making them miss, but they did miss some shots,” Brooks said. “Seems like they were a little tired, but not taking away nothing from our guys. We were as good defensively as we’ve been.”

Brooks has said he would like his players to take at least 30 3-pointers a game. On Friday, they shot 18-of-36, a cool 50 percent. The team also had 19 fast-break points, compared to only nine for Houston.

Overall, the Wizards shot 53 percent from the floor.

Brooks said All-Star point guard John Wall had one of his best games of the season with 17 points, four assists and five steals.

“He controlled the game on both ends of the floor,” Brooks said. “He dominated the game defensively.”

The Wizards (20-16) are 11-6 against teams with a winning percentage at or above .500, but only 9-10 against opponents with losing records, including home losses to the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks and twice in New York City against the Brooklyn Nets.

“We just played team basketball,” Wall said of Friday’s effort against Houston. “It’s simple. When we play good teams, we do that. We have to find a way to keep this going. We have to play the same exact way.”

The Wizards’ last game of the calendar year will be at home Sunday against the Chicago Bulls (13-22). Six of Washington’s first seven games in 2018 will also be at home, five of those against teams currently with losing records.

“We got to look at ourselves mentally and individually and accept the challenge,” said Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, who scored 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting. “We can’t come out and have great games against Boston and Houston … and then lay eggs against the teams who we should beat. We’ve got to stay locked in.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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