The Clippers topped the Rockets 109-104 in one of the least watchable games of the season to date, but a win is a win, particularly on the road. Keep reading for a full recap of the Clippers’ victory over the Rockets.
I don’t want to have to break this game down quarter by quarter, so I won’t. The first quarter was a high-scoring affair with little defense, the second was boring, the third was a horror show, and the fourth featured a stringent Clippers’ defense and some timely buckets from Reggie Jackson and Paul George to give the good guys the win. The Rockets are very bad, and the tired Clippers missing five key rotation players aren’t all that much better, so this was a brutal game to watch. There was very little flow, there were tons of sloppy turnovers, and just about no highlights outside of a handful of nice passes. The sooner everyone involved – the Clippers, Rockets, and everyone reading this recap – can move on from this one, the better.
PG Aggressive: Despite an overall fantastic season, there have been games where Paul George hasn’t made a super loud impact. That was not the case in this one, as George fired up 27 shots (hitting 10), and got to the line 10 times. His shot wasn’t falling early (or late), but it was great to see George continue to shoot – the Clippers just don’t have a ton of other go-to options with Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, and Serge Ibaka out. More importantly, George was huge elsewhere. He pulled in 14 rebounds and was dogged in his defense of John Wall, by far the best Rocket on the court in this one. It certainly wasn’t a perfect game, but PG gave the Clippers what they needed to get a win, and that’s all that matters.
4th Quarter Reggie: After a mostly “meh” game from the Clippers’ starting point guard, Reggie, as he has all season, shone brightest in crunch time. He scored 11 points in the final frame and dished a couple of assists to push the Clippers to victory, and showed no fear in taking deep threes with the clock running down. Reggie is a very flawed player, but his play has been a huge factor in keeping the Clippers afloat with all their injuries, and he deserves kudos for his cool hand in important moments. Hopefully Goggles Reggie gets a statue outside the Inglewood arena someday.
Pat Pat and Cousins Battle: With Ibaka out, and Ivica Zubac in foul trouble, Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins were pressed into 21 and 15 minutes respectively. And while both had struggles on defense, each contributed in their own way. PatPat scored 12 points on 11 shots, and, importantly, brought in 6 rebounds, including a couple offensive boards on putbacks. Cousins put in 11 points on 7 shots in his time on the court, and snagged 8 rebounds as well. Their efforts on the boards were much appreciated, and the energy and effort have been there for both guys all season (Cousins at least in his short Clippers stint). Again, the flaws are glaring on defense, but it didn’t matter too much in this one, and the Clippers are at the very least getting some real production from these guys when shorthanded.
Inconsistent Kennard: One game after his best scoring performance as a Clipper, Luke Kennard had a game to forget in this one, scoring just five points on 2-10 shooting and making just 1 of his 6 shots from deep. Every player has off days shooting the ball, but with Luke shooting is crucial, as he’s a well below average defensive player and doesn’t offer a ton as a rebounder or playmaker. So, in games like today, the Clippers just didn’t get much in 19 minutes. The aggression in getting up 10 shots is nice to see from Luke after his hesitancy pulling the trigger early in the season, but actual production would be better. With Reggie playing how he is, Rondo looking very effective, and Terance Mann offering more slashing, rebounding, and defense, it’s hard to see Luke playing much in big games, even with Pat Beverley out.
Well, that about does it for this recap of the Clippers’ win over the Rockets. Stay tuned for a new episode of TLTJTP later tonight as well as player grades tomorrow!