Washington, DC (Sports Network) – John Wall posted the first triple-double by a Washington rookie since Tom Gugliotta in 1992, scoring 19 points with 13 assists and 10 rebounds, as the Wizards pushed past Houston, 98-91.
Al Thornton and Andray Blatche each scored 20 points with Blatche also pulling down 11 rebounds. Yi Jianlian donated 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Kirk Hinrich chipped in with 10 points for the Wizards, who snapped a two-game skid.
Kevin Martin scored a game-best 31 points with seven rebounds and six assists, while Luis Scola compiled 24 points and six rebounds for the Rockets, who were coming off their first win of the season. Houston, which came into the game averaging 112 points per game, could only muster 91 in what turned out to be Wall’s coming-out party.
Wall did a little of everything, making half of his shots (8-of-16) and passing out 13 assists to just one turnover while also tallying six steals. He played just under 42 minutes, and engineered a late 8-0 spurt to put the game out of reach.
“He’s seeing that the hard work is paying off for him,” Wizards head coach Flip Saunders said.
Wall’s triple-double was the first by a Washington rookie since Gugliotta accomplished the feat when the Washington franchise’s nickname was the Bullets. Wall had plenty of bullets in his arsenal, hitting a pair of long jumpers to give the home team a 22-13 lead with 3:20 left in the first stanza. The guard’s reverse layup late in the period made the margin 30-21 entering the second stanza.
The margin got as high as 11 but settled at seven, 53-46, at the half then the Rockets chipped into the lead further in the third quarter.
Two Martin free throws cut the deficit to 62-61, and after the margin moved back to five points, the Rocket rallied with seven out of eight points, taking a 70-69 lead on the second of two Martin free throws for a 70-69 game.
Washington took a 73-72 lead into the fourth quarter and held an 84-78 lead before the Rockets reeled off seven consecutive points to take the lead on Scola’s layup with just under six minutes to play.
A pair of Wall thefts triggered an 8-0 answer, pushing the home team in front, 94-85, thanks to a Thorton layup. The margin never got lower than seven points from there.
The Wizards shot 44.3 percent from the floor and drained 6-of-13 from beyond the arc…Washington also controlled the glass with 16 offensive rebounds…Houston made only 39.1 percent of its shots, including a dismal 6- of-20 from long distance…Washington’s Gilbert Arenas finished with just five points on 1-of-7 shooting…Ish Smith had 12 points and five rebounds for the Rockets.
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