In the first quarter, both teams came out of the gate with tons of energy. The Rockets were getting open looks, and getting to the rim with ease. Based on the start, many of us Rockets fans felt very optimistic about this game. About halfway into the quarter after battling down low with Donatas Motiejunas, Blake Griffin went straight down to the floor and grabbed his back. He then was ruled out for the rest of the game with back spasms. With Griffin out, the Rockets should be able to dominate in the paint. That wasn’t the case. DeAndre Jordan definitely stepped up on the defensive end and changed the Rockets’ shot selection a lot. Chandler Parsons led the way in the first quarter with 11. At the end of the first quarter, the Rockets led, 33-23.
Chris Paul was pretty non-existent in the first quarter but he made up for it in the second, exploding for 19 points in the quarter. Who else anchors their team better than Chris Paul? Especially with Griffin out, you would expect Paul to step up big time. He definitely provided the spark needed to get the Clippers back in the game. At the half, the Clippers now led, 61-58.
As the second half rolled along, the Houston Rockets were right in this game. Sadly, they couldn’t quite pull away. Paul kept on dissecting the Rockets’ defense and finding easy ways to score. Whenever Paul is hot, the whole Clippers team is hard to stop. James Harden started knocking down shots, but when the Clippers are making their shots at the other end, that really didn’t help. Defense is key in games like these. The Rockets kept switching and it simply could not stop the Clippers from scoring. Whether it’s the 3 ball or alley-oops, the Clippers kept scoring. Heading into the final quarter, the Clippers led 88-84.
The fourth quarter was all about getting stops. Unfortunately it didn’t go that way for the Rockets. With Paul on the bench, Jamal Crawford went off to start off the final quarter. Whether he was shooting the 3 or driving in and drawing fouls, the Clippers began to run away. Everyone on the Rockets tried to answer at the other end, and they weren’t able to find the good looks that they would’ve liked to. The Rockets even tried the “Hack-A-Jordan”. Sadly, Jordan managed to hit both, or at least one of two. The Clippers hung on to win this one, 118-107.
It’s tough to win games without two of your key players. Although this game brought their five game winning streak to an end, the Rockets will now look to start a new one Tuesday night when they face the Brooklyn Nets. That game is scheduled to start at 7pm CST, and can be seen on TNT.
Tags: Houston Rockets