Chase Budinger led all scores with a season-high 21 points last night in Houston, as the Washington Wizards fell 103-76 to the hometown Rockets. Washington led early yet committed a season-high 24 turnovers, which resulted in 41 points for Houston. John Wall led the Wizards in defeat with a team-high 17 points and 6 assists.
“I was just taking open shots,” Budinger said after the game. “My teammates were good at finding me in the corner for open threes [and] I was able to get some lucky offensive rebounds, and putbacks.” Budinger scored 8 of his 21 points in the second quarter, which helped erase an eight point Wizards lead. Washington led briefly in the third quarter yet fell behind by 16 after three. Houston pushed the pedal down and began the fourth with a devastating 15-0 run, which allowed the Rockets to clear their bench for the final six minutes and change of regulation.
While the Wizards found success passing the ball Wednesday in a victory over the Bobcats, Washington’s point guards couldn’t get the job done on the road. Wall, Jordan Crawford, and Shelvin Mack combined for 10 of the team’s 24 turnovers on the night. Washington’s bigs couldn’t get the job done either. Rookie forward Jan Vesely received his first starting nod for the Wizards yet he didn’t contribute a single point or rebound in the final three quarters of action. Regardless, Vesely played solid basketball–at least by comparison. Rashard Lewis couldn’t reach that magic number in assists, Andray Blatche went 1-for-6 from the field as a reserve, and Trevor Booker–who usually plays with great energy and hustle off the bench–finished last on the team’s +/- with a -28 after 23 and a half minutes on the court.
Budinger out-hustled Booker and the entire Wizards roster. He secured 8 rebounds by running the baseline and sneaking the ball away, which frustrated Booker to the point in which the sophomore forward was called for a technical. “I was just trying to be more active out there,” Budinger said postgame. “Just be involved more.” Teammate Luis Scola finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds of his own for the Rockets, and Scola really took Vesely to school in the third quarter. “I think the game really changed on the shoulders of Luis Scola,” Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale said after the game. “He got down there in the post, starting going to work.” Samuel Dalembert also had a solid third quarter, as he once again inspired Houston to take control. He gave JaVale McGee trouble–foul trouble, to be exact–and helped the Rockets gain the confidence and aggression which they seemed to lack in the first half. Wall, however, failed to repeat his 38-point performance, and no one really stepped up for the Wizards in his absence.
HIGHLIGHTS: VIDEO RECAP
POSTGAME: BUDINGER | McHALE | HILL
The Wizards will look to bounce back tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats. Both teams are in a back-to-back situation and both teams struggled Friday night.
Time: 7:00 p.m ET
TV: Comcast SportsNet/NBALP
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Wizards: Ronny Turiaf, Hand (Out)
Bobcats: D.J. Augustin, Toe (Questionable); Corey Maggette, Hamstring (Questionable); Reggie Williams, Knee (Out); D.J. White, Knee (Day-to-Day)
Gerald Henderson played Friday for Bobcats. Augustin was a DNP, as was Maggette and White. Turiaf has been sidelined since January 1st with a 4-6 week recovery plan.