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Wizards vs. Rockets final score: Washington falls just short in a 159-158 shootout against Houston

Bradley Beal scores 46 points in the team’s home opener.

Houston Rockets v Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards just came short.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Wizards franchise record for points in a game was 161 entering tonight, and if you asked me before the season if this year’s team would come close to sniffing that, I’d have thought you were crazy.

James Harden poured in 59 points on Wednesday night as the Rockets took down the Wizards 159-158 (no, that’s not a typo) in regulation - the third highest scoring game in regulation in NBA history.

Seven Wizards players scored in doubles figures led by Bradley Beal with 46 points while Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans added 23 and 21 points respectively on a night where Washington knocked down a franchise-best 20 three-pointers.

This one didn’t start out so well for Washington as their first handful of possessions culminated in two turnovers and four missed shots. But it was the aggressive play from Hachimura early on, which got Washington out of an early hole. The rookie connected on back-to-back midrange jumpers followed by a drive to the hole resulting in free throw shots to get the Wizards out of their funk.

Hachimura’s aggressiveness and tenacity was contagious as it rubbed off on the other Wizards players. Isaiah Thomas, Davis Bertans, and Moritz Wagner provided an instant spark off the bench for Washington. The trio combined for 15 points in the quarter capped off with Davis Bertans’ three, narrowly beating the buzzer to pull the Wizards within one at the end of the first quarter.

Bradley Beal was on a mission to get others involved first. Beal tallied six assists before deciding that it was time to ramp up his scoring. The All-Star scored 20 first half points in a game that turned into an up-and-down affair capped off with a layup at the buzzer to give the Wizards a 77-76 lead at the break.

Things didn’t slow down in the second half. In fact, they were cranked up a notch. Hachimura, Thomas, and Bertans all caught fire in the third quarter as both teams cracked 100 points by the 4:15 mark of the THIRD QUARTER. The Wiz hung 40 on the Rockets in the third quarter and took a 117-111 lead into the final period.

This game was going to end in one of two ways - either one team would lock in defensively or the two would trade buckets until the clock hit zero.

A Troy Brown three from the corner gave the Wizards a 126-114 as it looked like they might pull away. But as I just mentioned, that would mean the Wizards would need to get stops. Even though Washington wasn’t able to deter Houston, they continued to let it rain from three-point range. Big time shots from Beal stretched the Wizards lead to eight and some nice give-and-go passing from Bryant to Beal back to Bryant for the layup and the foul gave Washington a 147-136.

The Rockets wouldn’t back down. Houston used a 14-3 run to claw back in this one as the lead started seesawing back and forth. But ultimately, Houston would have the last opportunity. With just seconds remaining and the game tied at 158, Harden did his dance with Isaac Bonga checking him and Bonga would get called for the foul in what looked like a blatant flop from Harden.

Harden would nail one of the two free-throws to give Houston a 159-158 lead with 2.4 seconds. Washington didn’t have any timeouts but it didn’t matter as they fumbled the inbounds pass.

That would be it, a rather anti-climatic ending to what was one hell of a game.

I’m winded, let me go catch my breath.