With four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Wizards up by two points, Trevor Ariza, who led Washington with 32 points, was called for a foul trying to break through Dwight Howard‘s screen before the ball was passed inbounds. Houston would go to the charity stripe for one free throw and get the ball back. After James Harden hit the free shot, the Rockets had a possibility to win the game on a two-pointer.
Here’s the play where Ariza was whistled for the foul. Judge for yourself whether it should have been called.
On to Houston’s ensuing possession. Chandler Parsons inbounded the ball from the sideline to Harden, and Washington proceeded to allow the one thing they didn’t want to happen: let James Harden get to the rim. Harden received the ball at the top of the perimeter, and drove past the Wizards’ with his patented euro-step past a stationary Kevin Seraphin scared to foul for the game-winning layup with 0.7 ticks remaining.
Wednesday night’s 113-112 win was the seventh consecutive for Houston, which is their longest streak of the season. They were helped by 47 free throws in the game, compared to just 16 such attempts for the Wizards. Despite the discrepancy, it was the last free throw awarded to Houston that turned out to be the most critical. Harden finished with 35 points, six boards, and six dimes to lead Houston, who is now just a half a game behind Portland for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
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(videos via Frank Den)