|Houston Rockets' Luis Scola, right, grabs a rebound in front of Washington Wizards' Jan Vesely in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)|
Budinger, Scola lead Rockets past Wizards
HOUSTON—Chase Budinger scored a season-high 21 points and Luis Scola added 19 points to help the Houston Rockets blow out Washington 103-76 on Friday night.
Jordan Hill had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who scored 41 points off Washington's season-high 24 turnovers. Courtney Lee scored eight points for Houston in place of leading scorer Kevin Martin, who sat out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
By the fourth quarter, the Rockets hardly missed Martin. The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the last 18 minutes, helping Houston outscore them 46-21 over that span to win for the eighth time in nine games.
John Wall had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Washington, playing its second game under Randy Wittman.
The Rockets started slowly for the second straight home game, shooting 26 percent (6 of 23) and scoring a season-low 17 points in the first quarter. Wall had eight points and two assists in the quarter, and Washington built a 7-point lead.
Lee swished a mid-range jumper early in the second quarter to start a 16-4 Houston run. The Wizards aided Houston with five turnovers in the first six minutes of the quarter.
Budinger, who sat out the previous three games, sank two 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first half to help the Rockets lead 44-41 at the break.
Samuel Dalembert dunked, then blocked two shots early in the third quarter, as Houston protected its slim lead. Kyle Lowry's free throws with 7:45 left in the quarter put the Rockets up 55-49, their biggest lead to that point.
Washington stalled its own rallies by continuing to cough up turnovers. The Rockets outscored Washington 21-7 in the last six minutes of the quarter, converting four turnovers into eight points.
Goran Dragic's straight-on 3-pointer with 42 seconds left in the quarter gave Houston a 78-62 lead heading to the fourth. Budinger swished another 3 early in the last quarter as the lead swelled over 20.
When the Wizards weren't giving the ball away, they were missing shots. They went scoreless through the first five minutes of the quarter, going 0-for-10 from the field, before Nick Young's mid-range jumper with 6:45 remaining trimmed the deficit to 93-64.
By then, Houston coach Kevin McHale had all his starters on the bench and was tapping deep into his bench, with former D-League star Jeff Adrien, seldom-used guard Terrence Williams and center Hasheem Thabeet on the floor for the final minutes.
NOTES: Houston held a double-digit lead for the 12th consecutive game. It's the Rockets' longest streak since 2008, when they had double-digit leads in 20 straight games during their 22-game winning streak. ... The Rockets have won 19 consecutive games when holding their opponent below 90 points. ... The Wizards were outrebounded 55-44 and dropped to 0-12 when losing the rebound margin this season. ... The Rockets' winning margin was a season high. ... Wizards F Kevin Seraphin sat out after getting six teeth pulled on Thursday, Wittman said.