Houston Rockets: Player grades from win over Los Angeles Clippers

Houston Rockets Isaiah Hartenstein (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Isaiah Hartenstein (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Isaiah Hartenstein (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 109-96 in Honolulu, HI on Friday in a matchup of two Western Conference favorites.

With both teams expectedly shorthanded, The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers still put on a show for the Honolulu crowd. Behind 37 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from James Harden, the Rockets led by as many as 26 on the way to a 109-96 victory over the Clippers.

From tipoff, the Rockets used swarming defense and perfect shooting from the free-throw line to race to a 31-22 lead behind 12 points from James Harden. The Beard used some crafty moves early to draw fouls, helping Houston put the Clippers in the penalty with nearly six minutes still remaining in the quarter.

Harden would make all seven of his free-throw attempts as Houston finished a perfect 13-for-13 to L.A.’s 6-for-10. As with the game against Shanghai, the Rockets pushed the tempo frequently to begin the game, ending the quarter with 10 fast-break points to none for the Clippers.

As Clutch City fans have seen too often by now, the lead Houston enjoyed quickly evaporated once James Harden went to the bench. In fact, it took five minutes for the Rockets to make a field goal in the second quarter, which came immediately upon Harden re-entering and finding Clint Capela for an alley-oop layup.

On that note, James and Clint again showed a strong connection in the open court once again as they did in their opener, which is definitely a good sign.

James Harden ⬆️ Clint Capela ⬇️@HoustonRockets 14@LAClippers 8#NBAPreseason on @NBATV pic.twitter.com/qA7KARoUY8

— NBA (@NBA) October 4, 2019

Houston would battle back behind strong minutes from Chris Clemons and a tricky four-point play by James Harden to go into the locker room up 57-40 at the half.

The second half was all Rockets, as James Harden kept up his dominance and the Rockets used a 32-13 fast break advantage to build the lead up to 26. With the game already in-hand going into the fourth quarter, the deep end of the bench was able to hold on for a 109-96 victory, making Houston 2-0 so far this preseason.

Considering the competition was much stronger this time around, some players didn’t fare as well individually as they did last time. Here’s a closer look at each player’s performance on Friday.

Next: The Starters