Houston Rockets Lose Game 1 Behind Lackluster Play and Copious Turnovers

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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May 4, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) shoots against the Los Angeles Clippers in the second half in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Los Angeles Clippers won 117 to 101. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Top Performers:

Clippers:

Blake Griffin: 26 Points, 14 Rebounds, 13 Assists

Jamal Crawford: 21 Points, 5 Rebounds, 4 Assists

Matt Barnes, 20 Points, 5 Rebounds, 3 Assists

Rockets:

James Harden: 20 Points, 5 Rebounds, 12 Assists, 4 Steals NINE Turnovers

Dwight Howard: 22 Points, 10 Rebounds, 5 Blocks

Trevor Ariza: 17 Points, 5 Rebounds 4 Assists, 3 Steals

The Good:

  • Not much to call good in this game given the result however the improved shot of Trevor Ariza pointed to him needing that rest. He was one of the few players who appeared ready to play on both ends, though he did commit 4 turnovers of his own.
  • We don’t expect much from Pablo Prigioni other than to be a steadying force so his 11 points, 3 assists, 3 of 5 from behind the arc and zero turnovers was about as close as we get to the x-factor performance of the night.
  • Dwight Howard continued to look good this post season (aside from a couple of times when he didn’t run back on defense), and he also won the battle against DeAndre Jordan on the night.

The Bad:

  • In a podcast I did Sunday I extolled on how I felt Terrence Jones and Josh Smith could eventually wear Blake Griffin down. But if they play the way they did tonight Blake might not even break a sweat this series.
  • Slow pace killed the the offense
  • Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers…. I can’t even top McHale on his comments they were just too good. (see 7th and 8th graders).
  • It wasn’t just the Rockets though 27 turnovers is head scratching, the Clippers also had 20 for a grand total of 47 turnovers combined.
  • The second quarter collapse lead to 71 points and while the Rockets held the Clippers to under 16% from behind the arc in the first half they finished shooting almost 42%

Moving forward, the leaders of the team Howard and Harden both said they’ll need to play better and will. They won’t have to wait another 5 or 6 days this time round as the next game comes Wednesday night. For the Rockets, they’ll need to ensure they come out ready to send a message and stay focused the entire game. They can’t afford to lose both games to open the series and Chris Paul’s return looms. It’s time they even up the series and remind us of the team who we came to know this season.

The one thing I know is when James Harden has what he considers a bad game, the next game out he flips the script, so I anticipate a much more aggressive effort from the bearded man. What the team needs to be wary of, is an officiating crew who decides they aren’t going to allow aggressive play as it could result in foul trouble and take the game out of their hands. So they’ll need to play smart, focused and with energy. Since I predicted this would be a lengthy series it won’t surprise me if Harden leads his team back and makes this a best of 5. We’ll find out soon enough.

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