Preview: Rockets at Wizards
Playing shorthanded doesn't seem to faze the Houston Rockets, who posted a pair of impressive victories since the trade of four players on Wednesday. Houston's new acquisitions - Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt - could be in uniform when the Rockets go for a third straight victory at the Washington Wizards on Saturday. Two nights after rallying to beat the Oklahoma Thunder, Houston tied a franchise record by beating the Brooklyn Nets for the 13th straight time, matching the longest winning streak against any opponent. The Rockets have made 31 3-pointers in the two wins.Much like Houston, the Wizards turned in an impressive offensive performance in Friday's 119-113 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets. Seven players scored in double figures and Emeka Okafor, John Wall and rookie Bradley Beal all notched double-doubles as Washington improved to 9-2 in its last 11 home games. The outburst helped allay fears of a lack off scoring punch after the Wizards dealt top reserve Jordan Crawford and his 13.2 average to the Boston Celtics at the trading deadline.TV: 7 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet Houston, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (Washington)ABOUT THE ROCKETS (31-26): With Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris traded in separate deals, Carlos Delfino was elevated to starting power forward. He struggled with his shooting against Oklahoma City, but was the difference-maker vs. Brooklyn. Delfino matched his season high with 22 points and connected on 6 of 9 3-point attempts. He also came up big in the clutch, nailing his sixth 3-pointer after the Nets had pulled within three and following up with another deep jumper. Delfino will likely remain in the starting lineup ahead of rookie Robinson, the key acquisition in the trade with Sacramento.ABOUT THE WIZARDS (16-37): Playing with two chipped front teeth - the result of a collision in Thursday's practice - didn't slow down Beal. The No. 3 overall pick grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds to go with 17 points. He is averaging 20 points and had hit 9 of 19 3-pointers in his last four games. Okafor has been plagued by wild bouts of inconsistency throughout the season but has picked up his game after a slow start this month, averaging 15.8 points and 10.3 boards in his last four games. BUZZER BEATERS1. The Rockets have won four straight and six of the last seven meetings against Washington, including a 99-93 home win on Dec. 12.2. Wall has thrived against Houston, averaging 21.8 points in four career matchups.3. Entering the weekend, the Rockets led the NBA in scoring (106.4 points) while the Wizards (91.3) ranked dead last.PREDICTION: Wizards 107, Rockets 103.
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