The Houston Rockets are proving more and more to be a serious threat to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference, and an undefeated month of February is a strong case for them. They completed that on Wednesday night with their 14th straight win, 105-92, over the Los Angeles Clippers. James Harden scored 17 of his 25 points in the first quarter, where the Rockets outscored the Clippers, 34-12. He also brought us the crossover of the year by sending Wesley Johnson crashing to the floor with an epic move. The Rockets led by a score of 31-7 at one point, as they took advantage of a day off, while the Clippers had played Tuesday night against the Denver Nuggets. Even in that game, Los Angeles had to rally from a 19-point deficit for a win, but they never got closer than eight points on Wednesday. The win streak is tied for the longest of the season for Houston, who remains a half game above the Warriors. They got 22 points apiece from Clint Capela and Eric Gordon and made 13 three-pointers as a team, as they took advantage of the Clippers missing 16 of their first 19 shots and turning the ball over 11 times. Tobias Harris led Los Angeles with 24 points, as they remain just outside of the playoff picture in the West. They will stay home to host the New York Knicks on Friday, while the Rockets, coming off the first perfect month in the NBA in three years, move on to their primtime showdown with the Boston Celtics on Saturday.
Warriors Hold off Wizards for Fourth Straight Win
Remember when the Washington Wizards thought they had a legitimate chance to land Kevin Durant in free agency a couple years back? Well, that never happened, and on Wednesday night, Durant pounded that fact into them on their home floor. Durant had 32 points to lead the Golden State Warriors over the Wizards, 109-101, for their fourth straight win. It was also their seventh victory in the past eight games, as they shot 51 percent on the night and outscored the Wizards, 27-14, in the third quarter to go ahead for good. That included a 16-4 run right out of halftime, as Steph Curry chipped in 25 points in the win. On the other end of the floor, the Warriors' defense, led by Klay Thompson, held Bradley Beal to just eight points. The Wizards' leading scorer, averaging 23.7 points per game coming in, missed his first nine shots, and din't have his first made field goal until there was under 5:30 to play in the third quarter. The Wizards, still without John Wall, were led by Otto Porter Jr.'s 29 points, as they move on to play host to the East's best, Toronto Raptors, on Friday night. The Warriors continue their east coast trip when they visit the Atlanta Hawks that same night.
Villanova Pulls Off Win in Overtime
The Villanova Wildcats are still working past a recent upset from this past weekend, but Wednesday night nearly brought them another one. The fourth-ranked team needed overtime to pull off a 69-68 win over Seton Hall in conference play. Mikal Bridges had 23 points to lead the Wildcats, who got big plays down the stretch in overtime from Jalen Brunson. They scored 17 points in the five minute overtime period to help avoid consecutive losses for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. Brunson came up big down the stretch with 14 of his 16 points being scored in the final 3:56 of regulation and overtime. Khadeen Carrington had 23 points to lead the Pirates, but did miss a crucial free throw with 11.6 seconds left, which proved to be a costly mistake. Seton Hall was without leading scorer Desi Rodriguez for a second straight game due to an ankle injury. Nova never trailed in overtime, with Phil Booth and Brunson getting them started with early three-pointers, but they are just 4-3 in their past seven games. They are hoping this is the start of a good finish to the regular season heading into tournament play, as they will play host to Georgetown on Saturday. The Pirates are also at home on Saturday to play host to Butler.