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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Rockets defeat Wizards, 107-88, behind John Wall's 24 points
POSTED: January 27, 2021 -- 10:20 a.m. CT
HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- In his first game against his former team, John Wall scored 24 points to help the Houston Rockets defeated the Washington Wizards 107-88 Tuesday night.
Wall was drafted by Washington in the 2010 NBA Draft. He played 10 season with the Wizards before being traded to Houston on December 2, 2020, for Russell Westbrook.
After the game, Wall said, "The most important thing for me is getting the win."
The Rockets (7-9) trailed the shorthanded Wizards 29-26 at the end of the first quarter. Wall scored 7 points in the first period and 8 points in the second period.
Houston outscored Washington 30-23 in the second quarter. Eric Gordon scored 9 points off the bench in the second to lead the Rockets
Houston led Washington 56-52 at halftime.
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The third quarter was a struggle for both teams. In the first six minutes of the quarter, the Rockets missed 8 of 9 field goals while the Wizards missed 6 of 7 field goals. Houston "heated up" the final six minutes making 5 of their final 12 field goal attempts. Houston edged the Wizards 19-18 in the third quarter and led 75-70 heading to the fourth period.
Victor Oladipo snapped his personal shooting struggles in the fourth quarter. After making 3 of 14 field goal attempts in the first 3 quarters, Oladipo shot 4 for 7 in the fourth and scored 10 points. Wall scored 9 points in the 4th on 3 for 5 field goal shooting. Oladipo and Wall combined for 19 of Houston's 32 points in the fourth quarter.
Oladipo and Wall each scored 5 points during a 10-0 Houston run which turned an 83-79 Rockets' lead to 93-79 with 5:44 left in the 4th quarter. The Wizards did not get closer than 10 points the rest of the quarter.
Oladipo finished the game with 20 points and 5 rebounds.
"That's our first time playing together. Ever," Oladipo said of him and John Wall's starting together in the backcourt for the first time.
Houston has only allowed 110 or more points once over the past seven games (opponents: 105.7 points per game) after doing so in seven of the first nine games (opponents: 113.2 points per game). The Rockets have held the opposition below 100 points three times this season after doing so four time in 2019-20.
Rockets big man DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 11 rebounds marking his second straight double-double and his third of the season. Cousins has started the past three games and is averaging 17.3 points per game, 14.3 rebounds per game, and 4.7 assists per game over that span.
"I think the team is continuing to get better," Cousins said after the game.
Houston extends its winning streak to a season-best three games while Washington (3-10) has lost five of its past 6 after winning consecutive games on January 1 and January 3.
The Wizards shot 5-of-26 from 3-point range. Washington entered tonight ranked eighth in 3-point shooting at 38.3%. Over the past seven games, Houston has held opponents to 30.9% shooting from behind-the-arc, down from 38.1% the first nine games. The Rockets have allowed fewer than 10 threes made per game in three of the past four games and eight times overall this season.
Eric Gordon led all reserves with 20 points. Gordon has scored 20 or more points eight times this season, including in five straight games for the first time since December 18 to December 28, 2017. Gordon had 20 or more points six times in 36 games played in 2019-20.
David Nwaba had 11 points and a season-high 9 rebounds. Nwaba has scored in double-figures in a season-best three straight games. Over the past seven games, Nwaba is averaging 10.6 points per game (53.8% FGs), 4.3 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists per game and 1.9 steals per game after averaging 7.6 points per game (43.6% FGs), 2.4 rebounds per game, 0.4 assists per game and 0.8 steals per game his first eight games played.
The Rockets next game is scheduled for Thursday, January 28, at home, versus the Portland Trail Blazers, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. TNT will broadcast the game.
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