- Associated Press - Friday, January 27, 2012

HOUSTON — Chase Budinger stayed patient and quiet, while Houston coach Kevin McHale left him on the bench over the past three games.

With leading scorer Kevin Martin injured on Friday night, Budinger made the best of his chance to play again.


The Rockets’ backup forward sank four 3-pointers and scored a season-high 21 points and Houston blew out Washington 103-76 on Friday night.

“You just have to be professional,” Budinger said, “and just be ready and wait for the opportunity like I did.”

Jordan Hill had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who scored 41 points off Washington’s season-high 24 turnovers. Courtney Lee scored eight points for Houston in place of Martin, who sat out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

McHale has been steadily trying to tighten Houston’s rotation, and Budinger was an odd man out after averaging only 7.1 points through the first 15 games.

“I told him that in our league, a lot of times, things just happen,” McHale said. “He stayed ready and he’s a professional man.”

Budinger didn’t vent, and continued to practice with a hopeful mindset.

“I like to play, I like to be out there on the court with my teammates,” he said. “It really just comes down to what the coach wants.”

Luis Scola scored 10 of his 19 points in the third quarter when Houston pulled away.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the last 18 minutes, helping Houston outscore them 46-21 over that span to win for the eighth time in nine games.

John Wall had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Washington, playing its second game under Randy Wittman.

“I think we get tired and we lose our concentration and we throw the ball all over the gym,” Wittman said. “For 30 minutes, we played hard, smart, for the most part, we got after it. The bad thing about that is that it’s a 48-minute game.”

The Rockets started slowly for the second straight home game, shooting 26 percent (6 of 23) and scoring a season-low 17 points in the first quarter. Wall had eight points and two assists in the quarter, and Washington built a 7-point lead.

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