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Resurgent Clippers destroy hobbled Rockets 102-85

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Without Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones, and Patrick Beverley, the Clippers defeated the Rockets 102-85.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Rockets started the game off on a 17-9 run, the air escaped from their tires once Isaiah Canaan left the game late in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle. The Rockets went on to lose 102-85, largely because of their lack of offensive execution.

Before CanaanBall's injury, Trevor Ariza hit back-to-back threes to cut the Clippers lead to 6 with 6:16 to go in the second quarter, but that was about the closest the Rockets would get.

The Rockets had trouble re-adjusting to the game without Canaan, for they opened up the third quarter with just 6 points in four minutes.

Donatas Motiejunas had a decent night with 6 points and 7 rebounds, but this delicious dime really stood out.

For the Clippers, it was truly the Blake Show in Houston tonight, as Blake Griffin scored 30 points and grabbed 11 boards. He even drew a Bob Dandridge comparison from the Rockets announcers. Jamal Crawford was also feeling it, with 21 points on 7-12 shooting. Simply put, Crawford drained some ridiculous shots, it seemed like the contested 35 footers he shot were layups to him.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

  • Joey Dorsey deserves more minutes

Dorsey had just 4 points in the game and Tarik Black actually played pretty well, but Dorsey was a factor in his 16 minutes. Dorsey was stronger with the ball than Black and was a more effective rebounder (Black with 9 rebounds in 27 mins, Dorsey with 7 in 16 mins).

(Ed. Note: This was the best Joey Dorsey has played this year. It is not the official position of The Dream Shake that he deserves more minutes)

  • Jason Terry is over the hill

In sync with my post about Canaan being 100 times better than Terry, "Jet" threw up so many bricks, he could have built a house. Terry badly missed wide open threes and continued to shoot even when he was heavily guarded. He finished with a +/- of -23, which is not good, not good at all.

  • James Harden selectively plays defense

Sorry, I have to throw that one in. You probably already knew this, but Harden is a capable defender. In fact, he was an above average defender with the Thunder. Also, Harden has lately put more effort in on the defensive side. He was solid in the first half, but once the Clippers ran away with the game, Harden's defense suddenly disappeared. Once Dwight Howard and Beverley return, Houston will return to being among the best defenses in the NBA.

  • Nick Johnson should be given a chance

After tearing up the D-League, Nick Johnson returned to the roster this week and played 6 minutes tonight in garbage time. He scored 8 points and made an instant impact with 2 steals. Johnson also sunk this incredible half court shot to beat the final buzzer.

LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE

The Clippers are a contender in the West, and a hobbled Rockets team isn't expected to beat them. It's impressive that they kept it close in the first quarter with essentially their "B" team. The Rockets, especially without Dwight Howard, are going to live and die by the three. They shot a miraculous 37 three-pointers and made just 10. It's pretty obvious that they died behind the arc.

It's never a good thing to lose on your home court, but without Howard, Jones, Beverley, and Canaan for a half, the Rockets have three and a half built-in excuses, so there is absolutely no cause for concern. When everyone returns from injury, the Rockets will return to their previous, championship-contention form. Let's just hope that's sooner rather than later.