James Harden pours in 59 as Rockets nip Wizards 159-158

WASHINGTON — James Harden needed every one of his 59 points against the Washington Wizards.

Harden made one of two free throws with 2.4 seconds left to give the Houston Rockets a 159-158 victory over Washington on Wednesday night.

“I didn’t know we were going to have to score about 160 points to win but whatever it takes it took,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said. “A lot of great individual performances. They played unbelievable. They didn’t miss anything. We just let down a little bit and they made everything.”

Washington didn’t make everything, but did shot 62.6% from the field and made 20 of 36 3-pointers. Houston shot 53.4% and made 42.6% of its 3s.

Bradley Beal scored 46 points for Washington, hitting three throws with 8.1 seconds left to tie it at 158.

“I hate moral victories,” Beal said. “But it’s always a good feeling knowing that when we lose, it’s always one or two things we can fix.”

Harden had 38 points in the second half — 21 in the third quarter and 17 in the fourth.

“The only way we’ll get to where we want to go is our defensive efforts and it has to be consistent,” Harden said. “Right now we’re not consistent and that’s why we go through tough times like that. That’s what the course of the year is for. We just try and build those habits and continue to keep building.”

Harden was 18 of 32 from the field, 6 of 14 from 3-point range, and made 17 of 18 free throws. He also had nine assists in 37 minutes.

Russell Westbrook had just three points in the first three quarters, then scored 14 in the fourth quarter and finished with his second triple-double of the season. He had 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

Clint Capela added 21 points and 12 rebounds to help Houston improved to 3-1.

Rui Hachimura had 23 points in his home debut for the Wizards, Davis Bertans added 21. Washington dropped to 1-3.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks is happy with his reconfigured team. Six of the nine players he used during the game are new to the team.

“We were one play from winning an exciting game,” he said.

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