Houston Rockets Stumble to 29-Point Loss to LA Clippers
By Ben Casey
The Houston Rockets finished out their road schedule by getting stomped by the Clippers, who had a lot more on the line.
The LA Clippers are fighting for home court advantage in the playoffs, and needed a win to make it possible. They sent out their full roster, giving it all they had all night. The Houston Rockets, on the other hand, sat multiple starters and played uninspired basketball throughout.
Despite the difference in effort, the Rockets only trailed by four at halftime. Then, the Clippers opened up the second half on a 29-3 run, ending the game with about four minutes left in the third quarter.
James Harden‘s first quarter stats gave fans hope that it would end up as a statement MVP performance. After the first 12 minutes, the Beard had totaled 10 points and six assists. However, he only scored four more points and didn’t rack up another dime on the night.
Houston struggled as a whole, but nobody was as off as Trevor Ariza. He scored six points on 3/11 shooting, missing all seven of his 3-point attempts. The only Rocket to make three long range shots was Bobby Brown, and he needed eight tries to get there.
For the victorious opponent, Chris Paul ed the team with 19 points and nine assists with zero turnovers. Blake Griffin also put in 18 points and eight boards on 55% shooting. Nobody for LA had an outstanding game, but everyone played well. That isn’t saying much, though, considering they were lining up against Houston’s B-team.
The Rockets have struggled over the past couple of weeks, going 3-5 over their last eight games. They’ve been virtually locked into the third seed for about a month now, though, so it’s somewhat understandable. Why kill yourself over games that will have little to no meaning when it’s all said and done?
MDA said this was a hard game for some players with the meaningless of it.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) April 11, 2017
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The Houston Rockets only have one regular season game left, a home outing on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mike D’Antoni said that he’ll play the starters for three quarters or so, giving them one last chance to prepare for playoffs in a game setting.
If they win their last one, the Rockets will finish the season one game shy of their 2014-2015 record, 56-26. Regardless of whether they earn a W against the Wolves, this season has been a bright spot compared to preseason expectations. Some pundits predicted Houston finish with as few as 38 wins.
I’d like to see the Rockets come out of the gates firing on all cylinders on Wednesday. It would be great to end the regular season on a high note and send a message to the Oklahoma City Thunder that the first round won’t be fun for them.
Next: What Will D'Antoni's Playoff Rotations Look Like?
The Rockets didn’t play well in their last game against the Clippers, but it won’t be remembered once the playoffs begin this weekend.