The Houston Rockets blew out the Washington Wizards 136-118 and set an NBA record with 26 made three-pointers.
With under a minute remaining, Michael Carter-Williams hit nothing but net when he drilled the 26th triple of the night. Overall, the Rockets shot 26 of 55 from behind the three-point arc. Reigning MVP James Harden led all scorers with 35 points. He added six three-pointers.
The Rockets were averaging only 12 three-pointers over their previous three games, yet finished the night with 26. They also scored 136 points, which marked a season high. By the end of the third quarter, the Rockets put up 101 points.
The Rockets enacted revenge after an overtime loss to the Wizards three weeks earlier in Washington, DC. James Harden dropped 54 points in that OT thriller.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni is the mastermind behind the “seven seconds or less” philosophy by spreading the offense and hoisting three-pointers. His teams are never shy to jack up threes from anywhere on the court. The Rockets dropped 20 or more treys 24 times in franchise history and all of those occurred during the D’Antoni era. Even the Golden State Warriors have achieved 20 or more three-pointers on only a dozen occasions.
“We’ve got two of the best point guards ever to play the game,” said D’Antoni. “I wish I could say that I’m over there doing something that I’m not. We’re just riding those two guys, and they just know how to play. And I really think it’s energy. The ball finds energy, and positive things happen.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers held the previous NBA record with 25 three-pointers, which occurred in March 2017 against the Atlanta Hawks.
Eight different players on the Rockets contributed to the new record of 26 total triples. As expected, James Harden hit the most with six. He finished the night with 35 points on 10-of-18 from the floor, including 6-of-11 from downtown.
“It’s pretty cool to be a part of it. You’re in the books,” said Harden.
The NBA’s leading scorer was followed by Chris Paul (5), Gerald Green (4), Eric Gordon (4), and PJ Tucker (3). Meanwhile, Danuel House knocked down two, while Gary Clark and Michael Carter-Williams added one each.
“They shot the sh*t out of it,” bluntly said Bradley Beal, who scored 28 points in a losing effort for the Wizards.
Backup point guard Michael Carter-Williams from Syracuse, encouraged by the rowdy crowd in Houston, hit the record-setting three-pointer with 31 seconds remaining.
Carter-Williams averages only nine minutes of action per game. Coming into the contest against the Wizards, Carter-Williams hit only 6-for-16 from three-point range. He missed his first two shots of the night, but he swished his third much to the delight of his teammates.
“We knew that if we didn’t at least attempt it, we would have heard it in the locker room,” said Carter-Williams.
Setting an #NBA record tonight! 🔥
Watch all 26 three-pointers ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/xnum350xHt
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 20, 2018
The Rockets (16-14) are riding a five-game winning streak. With the victory in Washington, the Rockets moved into first place in the Southwest Division. Harden has been on fire during the recent streak while averaging 37 points per game.
It’s a tight race in the Southwest. Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans are in last place in the division, yet only two games behind the Rockets. All five teams are jockeying for position, but for moment, the Rockets are back on top.
The Rockets drastically turned their season around after they realized that Carmelo Anthony was a huge liability instead of an asset. Only ten games into the season, the Rockets pulled the plug on the failing Melo experiment. After a disappointing 5-7 start, the Rockets are 12-7 since parting ways with Anthony.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Rockets are 15-1 odds to win the NBA championship.