The Rockets bounced back from their loss Monday night to beat the Clippers 122-103 on national television in LA Wednesday night.
The win clinches the season series against Los Angeles, and Houston did it in convincing fashion. Despite trailing after the first quarter, the Rockets claimed the lead in the middle of the second and never looked back.
Houston outscored Los Angeles 74-41 in the second and third quarters. The Rockets’ lead was as large as 31, and they built it by playing their style: threes, threes, and more threes. Houston made 20 of their 52 threes, and even though they missed their last fifteen three-pointers, they were able to win by 19. At one point late in the second half, they were shooting 20-for-37, 54 percent, from downtown. In fact, the Rockets took fewer shots, made fewer shots, and had a lower shooting percentage than the Clippers in the entire game, but they were able to get to the line and sink their threes when it mattered.
Leading the charge was James Harden with 26 points and 9 assists, but tonight’s star was Patrick Beverley. The Wolverine had 14 points, 12 rebounds, and a +32. He was one of three Rockets with a double-double, along with Clint Capela and Nene. Beverley has been the heart and soul of this team, and tonight he proved again that he deserves that title.
There was one specific play where he was able to get a rebound over both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the lane. The one weakness the Rockets could have against the Clippers is the lack of size, but with guys like Patrick Beverley making these hustle plays, the Rockets can make up for it.
The Rockets simply outplayed the Clippers tonight, and it is always sweeter when the Rockets beat a good team on the road. The Clippers are a good team, and they looked solid in the first quarter, but the Rockets’ second unit was able to pull the game back in the Rockets’ favor. Lou Williams had his worst game as a Rocket, shooting 2-for-11, but Eric Gordon and Nene combined for 30 points. The new featured lineup in the second unit with Beverley-Gordon-Williams-Dekker-Nene is tough to beat, and they will be nasty in the playoffs.
Mike D’Antoni expressed his frustration after Monday’s loss and the Rockets definitely heard their coach, as tonight was a complete 180 from Monday. As this difficult stretch in the schedule continues, hopefully the Rockets will be able to produce more games like tonight. This game proved that they are able to correct their mistakes, and that is the biggest takeaway from tonight’s game.
If this is the team that shows up for the rest of the season, it’s going to get real good down the stretch. The Rockets’ next game is Saturday as they take on the Grizzlies in another potential playoff preview. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. CT.