Rockets News

Rockets vs. Clippers recap: Houston loses second straight game

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 22: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket defended by DeAndre Jordan #6 of the LA Clippers and Jamil Wilson #13 in the first half at Toyota Center on December 22, 2017 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 22: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket defended by DeAndre Jordan #6 of the LA Clippers and Jamil Wilson #13 in the first half at Toyota Center on December 22, 2017 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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The Rockets dropped their second straight game in a row, this time to the Clippers 128-118.

The Houston Rockets (25-6) have now lost two in a row after winning 15 in a row. Both LA teams came to Houston and played to their max ability. The Clippers (13-18) dominated the game in the second half to pull out the victory.

Austin Rivers for the Clippers put up a career-high 36 points, including 30 of them in the second half alone. Lou Williams, the former Rocket, scored 32 points and couldn’t seem to miss in the fourth quarter. DeAndre Jordan made 4 straight free throws when the Rockets decided to hack him.

Let’s look at a few of the positives on a night full of negatives:

The Positives

James Harden…mostly

James Harden went absolutely off offensively, once again. He matched last game’s total of 51 points and dished out 8 assists as well. He ended up fouling out, though and had 8 turnovers. Still, scoring 50+ in two straight games is no joke. Hopefully, he doesn’t have to play 40+ minutes against the Thunder on Christmas.

Eric Gordon

EG had another great night from 3, shooting 6 of 12 from there for 29 points overall. He was pretty good all night offensively.

Weber and Black

With Clint Capela, Luc Mbah a Moute and Chris Paul out tonight, the Rockets needed someone to step up and play big minutes off the bench. While they didn’t score much, Tarik Black and Briante Weber played exceptionally on defense. They finished with two of the best plus-minuses on the team.

Notable Statistics

James Harden: 51 points (15/28 shooting), 8 assists

Eric Gordon: 28 points

Ryan Anderson: 14 points, 10 rebounds

The Bad

Defense all around

Almost everyone had a bad night defensively. The Rockets allowed the injured Clippers to drop 128 points on them. Yes, the Rockets are without 3 key defensive players, but that is still unacceptable. James Harden’s defense, while improved overall this year, dropped off significantly in the fourth and he committed some dumb fouls. Eric Gordon seemed lost out there at times. Ryan Anderson regressed to his defense from last season. Pretty much, it was ugly. However, the Clippers did make quite a few contested shots.

The officiating

Yikes. Anyone who was watching this game could tell you how lost the officials were tonight. They couldn’t tell the difference between a shooting foul and a common foul. Heck, they couldn’t even tell what was a foul at all at some points.

Harden was certainly not too pleased with the officiating:

LMAO at James Harden punking the ref pic.twitter.com/CvRfXmKrru

— gifdsports (@gifdsports) December 23, 2017

Coach D’Antoni and P.J. Tucker certainly weren’t happy about the refs. They both received technical fouls along with Harden.

Rough night for the officials.

Pick and rolls

Pick and rolls continue to be bad without Clint Capela in there running them. Nene is decent at them, but Clint is elite. Capela is greatly missed on both ends of the court and the Rockets sure could’ve used him tonight.

Next Game

The next one is a big one: Christmas Day against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder come off a buzzer-beating victory against the Hawks. Hopefully, the Rockets can take away their momentum.

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Next: LeBron to Houston rumors are swirling

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