LA got out to a quick 20-5 lead and built it to as much as 18 points before the Rockets bench quelled the onslaught. It’s not as if the Clippers were a juggernaut at the beginning of the game either. Houston suffered from some poor shot selection, including too many airballs.
There was a noticeable shift once the bench unit came in, and while there wasn’t a lot of firepower coming from the second unit as far as scoring goes, the aggression definitely went up a notch once Tari Eason Jr., Usman Garuba and Kenyon Martin Jr. hit the court. Their active hands led to multiple steals and easy points that helped Houston get back into the game.
Daishen Nix even made a solid impact as he connected on a couple of three pointers during that important stretch. He had 12 for the game on 4-6 from downtown.
Soon after, Kevin Porter Jr. started to get on track as he started his own personal run (22 for the game). As for the remainder of the starting lineup, Alperen Sengun had himself an impressive night, despite fouling out. His 26 points and 13 rebounds led the way as he put on another footwork exhibit against Ivica Zubac and other Clippers’ defenders.
Jalen Green got it going in the third quarter when he dropped 14 of his 22 points for the game. He shot 9-17 from the field after a week of poor shooting. The team could benefit from him taking a higher volume of shots when he’s hitting like that from the field.
Those three starters going for 20+ is fine and dandy, but even then it’s hard to win when your other two starters combine for only two points. Eric Gordon contributed an uncharacteristic goose egg, and Jabari Smith Jr. was only able to connect on 1-10 from the floor. It is worth noting that Jabari had to head back to the locker room as it was his ankle again. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.
As for the Clippers, they got another good performance out of Paul George (28 points), who somehow manages to hit ridiculously tough shots that will infuriate you as the opposition. No one else was exactly spectacular, but Marcus Morris Sr. chipped in 21 points. LA got a back-breaking 11 point third quarter boost from Moses Brown as he filled in for the foul-laden Zubac.
- It was nice to see this not turn into a blowout (I had fears early on).
- KPJ really has to cut down on the turnovers. They are going to happen, especially with as much as he handles the ball, but six for the game (three in the fourth) isn’t great.
- Again, I’d like to see JG continue to be aggressive with his shot when he’s shooting like he did tonight.
- Is anyone against Tari starting now? This feels like a good time to get him in there and to hope his energy (3 blocks) gets the team off to better starts.
- I’m not worried about Jabari. The Clippers are built around large wings that are suited to make his life difficult. I’d still like to see the offense catered more to getting him easy buckets.
- They played Teach Me How to Dougie during one of the commercial breaks. They were definitely trying to distract John Wall in his return to the Toyota Center.