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:
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.
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.
James Harden: 51 points (15/28 shooting), 8 assists
Eric Gordon: 28 points
Ryan Anderson: 14 points, 10 rebounds
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.
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.
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.