Rockets, Wizards clash in DC matinee

( - Two teams jockeying for playoff positioning square off Sunday afternoon when the Houston Rockets travel to DC to face the Washington Wizards in a matinee.

The Rockets have clinched a postseason berth, but are just a half-game behind the Memphis Grizzlies for both the Southwest Division lead and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

The Wizards need a victory on Sunday and losses by the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics to clinch a playoff spot. Both teams are in action as the Nets host the Los Angeles Lakers and the Celtics welcome the Los Angeles Clippers to Boston.

Houston has won three straight overall and three straight on the road.

On Friday, the Rockets punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 120-110 home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Houston hit a season-high 20 3-point shots, led by James Harden's six and Jason Terry's five. Houston has attempted 2,392 3-pointers this season, setting a new NBA record

Harden paced all scorers with 33, and Terry finished with 17.

Dwight Howard scored 18 in 20 minutes for the Rockets, and Josh Smith added 16 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

"My teammates found me in great spots, I just finished them off," Howard said. "I was out there just trying to do whatever I can ... just trying to be a presence on the defensive end."

Minnesota was within seven with less than 4 1/2 minutes to play before a 9-2 Houston spurt put the game away.

Houston's Donatas Motiejunas sat out with a back injury and starters Patrick Beverley (wrist) and Terrence Jones (collapsed lung) continue to sit.

The Rockets continue their road trip Monday in Toronto.

The Wizards halted a four-game slide on Friday night with a home victory over the Charlotte Hornets. The Wiz needed two overtimes, but came out with a 110-107 triumph.

John Wall scored 32 points with nine rebounds and six assists to help the Wizards.

Bradley Beal had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Wizards, while Drew Gooden and Rasual Butler chipped in with 15 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench. Gooden pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds.

Butler gave Washington a 101-99 lead with a minute left in the first overtime before Mo Williams tied it with a jumper. Beal, Gooden and Wall all missed attempts on Washington's ensuing possession, then Kemba Walker's floater at the buzzer was no good as the game extended an extra five minutes.

The back-and-forth affair continued in the second overtime, with Wall giving the Wizards a 108-105 edge on a 3-pointer with 2:22 left. Al Jefferson knocked down a jumper to help the Hornets pull within one, but they would not score the rest of the way.

Wall converted a jumper with 9.9 ticks on the clock to extend the margin to three. Williams missed a 3-pointer prior to Jefferson grabbing the rebound and getting fouled by Wall with 3.9 seconds left. Out of a timeout, Jefferson missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Washington held on.

"The group I thought that kind of closed out the game gave us unbelievable effort," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

The Wizards still have two more games on this homestand against the bottom of the Eastern Conference -- the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks.

Washington beat the Rockets in Houston on Dec. 29 to stop a two-game series losing streak. The Rockets have won two of their last three stops to our nation's capital.