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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Rockets edge Wizards, 113-112

Harden's 35 points leads Rockets to bizarre win in final seconds

Posted: February 12, 2014 -- 10:49 pm CST.

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- James Harden came through in the clutch to help the Rockets edge the Washington Wizards 113-112.

The Rockets trailed 112-110 with 4 seconds remaining; and, as the Rockets were preparing to inbound the ball, Trevor Ariza was whistled for his sixth foul for holding Harden while Harden trying to come through a pick. Since the foul occurred "Away from the play", Harden was awarded one free throw attempt and the Rockets kept possession of the ball. Harden made the free throw; then, he caught the inbounds pass from Chandler Parsons; dribbled; and, used his famous EuroStep to get to the hoop and score the game-winning layup with 0.7 seconds left on the clock.

"The first play was for Jeremy (Lin) to come off then for me to set the screen and come off from the top of the key," Harden said. Obviously, we didn't get to it. The second one we were wrinkling. Jeremy was going to act like he was going to come off; but, he didn't. But, I came off the top. I just needed space and got the ball to the rim."

Washington's Kevin Seraphin launched a long turnaround jump shot which clanged off the rim to give the Rockets the victory.

"We were looking for them to foul on the first one; and, then, get a layup on the second one," Kevin McHale said jokingly. "It worked out perfectly."

McHale then said seriously, "We had a little bubble screen action trying to get him (Harden) to come to the ball; and, then, they switched up a little bit on the second time. He just faked the screen and came off. It was a hell of a play. He played downhill all night."

Harden scored a game-high 35 points to help the Rockets overcome a season-high 26 turnovers. Harden made all 16 of of his free throw attempts.

"Twenty-six turnovers and you win," McHale said. "It's pretty amazing. I don't know how we did that. We had a big lead; and, we just frittered it away.

"(Trevor) Ariza was making everything; but, still, we just had some bad, bad turnovers. We got up nineteen (points); and, we can't afford to give those leads back. We've done it off and on. We kind of got away from it for awhile; but, we fell back into it."

Trevor Ariza scored a a season-high 32 points thanks to a career-high 10 made three-point shots. Ariza made five of his seven third quarter three-point shots in three minutes as the Wizards sliced the Rockets 89-70 lead to 93-90 in three minutes.

Dwight Howard scored 24 points (7 for 9 field goals, 10 for 16 free throws) and pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds. Chandler Parsons scored 18 and added 12 boards and six assists. Jeremy Lin scored 16 and dished five dimes. Donatas Motiejunas scored 11 points in 17 plus minutes of action off the bench.

"They (the Wizards) fought all the way through," Dwight Howard said. "We had a big lead; and, then, Trevor Ariza got hot. He didn't miss any threes for a long stretch; and, they got back into the game. They made it tough. They are a really good, young team; and, they are a team that you have to watch out for in the East."

The Rockets enter the NBA All-Star Break with a seven-game winning streak.

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