The Houston Rockets can’t seem to find any consistency on the road. Each success results in a terrible string of losses, but Houston can turn that around Saturday. Looking for two consecutive road victories for the fifth time this season, the Rockets meet the 16-37 Washington Wizards Saturday night at the Verizon Center.
Houston started the season on the road with two wins, but then proceeded to lose six straight away from the Toyota Center. Two more road wins during Christmas week and another two to start 2013, preceded a 1-6 away slide.
Still the Rockets began the NBA’s second half with an impressive, albeit tight, 122-119 victory over Oklahoma City, and trounced the Brooklyn Nets 106-96 Friday night.
Against the Nets, Houston went 16-for-30 from three-point range, with guard Carlos Delfino accounting for six threes en route to 22 points, five rebounds, and five assists. James Harden also knocked down four three-pointers for 22 points, while point guard Jeremy Lin struggled, going 4-for-11 from the field for nine points, six assists and five turnovers.
The Rockets defense showed significant improvement along the perimeter, holding Brooklyn to 44 percent shooting, but poor interior defense surrendered 27 points to center Brook Lopez.
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Houston can work out their miscues in the paint against Washington’s 30th ranked offense, built around poor shooting point guard John Wall.
In a rare victory, the Wizards nearly blew an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, but prevailed 119-113 behind rookie shooting guard Bradley Beal’s 17 points and 12 rebounds.
All five Washington starters scored in double figures, and Beal showed by the Wizards made him their No. 5 pick in last year’s draft, teaming up with Wall for a hyper-athletic backcourt duo. Wall finished the game with 14 points and 10 assists, but committed six turnovers. In nine games this month, Wall is averaging nearly five turnovers a game.
Still the Wizards showed signs of life before the All-Star break, going 4-1, with wins over New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers. Washington also boasts a far stronger defense than the Rockets. The Wizards are seventh overall in points allowed per game.
The game tips-off at 7 p.m. Eastern time, and will be broadcast by CSN Houston or CSNB, depending on your region. Or you can watch a live online stream by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband here.
Betting Odds: Houston is favored by 2 points
Over/Under: 209 points
Prediction: The key matchups will be Lin and Harden vs. Beal and Wall. This could be a very high scoring game, even with the Wizards troubles on offense. The Rockets should lock up another road victory with Harden once again leading the way.
Predicted Score: Houston 104, Washington 92