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- The Rockets will be at full strength for Wednesday’s matchup with the Wizards. Both James Harden, who missed Monday’s loss to San Antonio with a sprained right ankle, and Jeremy Lin, who turned his left ankle as he made a hard cut during a defensive drill at Tuesday’s practice, will start.
- With John Wall and A.J. Price sidelined, Washington coach Randy Wittman has given the starting point guard job to Jordan Crawford. The second-year guard’s first outing at the new position was a bumpy ride for a while, but he delivered in the fourth quarter by outscoring New Orleans’ entire roster, 12-10, in Tuesday’s 77-70 win -– the Wizards’ first road victory of the season. Wittman said he does not expect Crawford’s transition to the new role to go smoothly, but he believes the second-year guard is more than capable of adapting his game to help Washington win. “It’s a new role for him, and one that is a work in progress,” Wittman said. “I think the more he does it, the more he’ll get comfortable with it. He’ll know about running and what plays to call and making sure everybody gets touches without losing his aggression. … [I think we can get to the point of] doing the things on the offensive end of the floor that we need to do without the ball sticking in one person’s hands.”
- Houston’s up-tempo offensive attack will receive a stern test against a Wizards defense that has given up an average of only 9.2 fast-break points over the last six games. Coach Kevin McHale said his team must concentrate on playing disciplined defense and utilizing constant motion across the width of the court on offense to generate more opportunities to run the floor. “We can get on a roll if we can keep our floor spread and get guys playing downhill more,” McHale said. “I think pace only works when you have cutting and ball pressure in the paint.”
- Washington (3-15) has connected on only 37.9 percent (64-for-169) of its field-goal attempts over the last two games, but practically every team is finding its shooting touch against the Rockets these days. Houston (9-11) has allowed its last seven opponents to shoot a combined 50.6 percent (314-for-620) from the floor.
– Matt Miller