HOUSTON — After the Houston Rockets wrapped up a four-game road trip amid a 119-111 loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday, coach Stephen Silas placed a hefty emphasis on the team’s performance prior to their three-game homestand. Silas wanted to see his team play better on their home floor, with the Rockets returning to the Toyota Center after dropping 13 of their last 14 home games.
Sunday night, the Rockets fell short of Silas’ desires in a 99-98 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. As a result of the one-point defeat, the Rockets dropped their ninth consecutive game while falling to 15-45 on the season.
Despite the loss, the Rockets played the Clippers closer than the 31-point defeat they sustained on Feb. 17 in Los Angeles, prior to the All-Star break.
Houston elevated their perimeter defense during their second meeting against the Clippers, as the Rockets held Los Angeles to 32.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. In their first meeting of the season inside the Crypto.com Arena, the Rockets allowed the Clippers to shoot 51.4 percent from deep.
For the second consecutive season, the Rockets acquired a veteran at the trade deadline whose presence is leaving an impact on Houston’s young core. Last season, it was Kelly Olynyk, who appeared in 27 games averaging 19.0 points and 8.4 rebounds to close out the 2021 season for the Rockets. This year, it’s Dennis Schroder.
With Kevin Porter Jr. out due to an ankle injury, Schroder started in his absence and left a significant impact on the game. He finished with a near triple-double performance with 11 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds — his best outing as a Rocket after Houston acquired the German native on Feb. 10.
Schroder’s most substantial impact against the Clippers came with his ability to create for his teammates. Schroder kept the ball moving throughout the night for the Rockets as his playmaking resulted in Houston recording 26 assists in the loss.
Every player benefited playing alongside Schroder, as Houston ended the game with seven players scoring in double figures on the night.
Christian Wood and Alperen Sengun led the way for the Rockets with 15 points apiece, while Jae’Sean Tate and Garrison Mathews each attributed with 14 points. After recording 23 points in their last contest against the Magic, Jalen Green had a rough night shooting the ball, as he finished the game with 10 points while connecting on four out of his 18 shot attempts.
Reggie Jackson led the way for the Clippers with a game-high 26 points, while Ivica Zubac added in 14 points and six blocks in the win. Former Rocket Isaiah Hartenstein added 12 points off the bench.
After the loss, the Rockets will attempt to avoid a three-game regular-season sweep on Tuesday in a rematch against the now 32-31 Clippers. Tip-off is at 7 P.M. CT inside the Toyota Center.