It was an epic game with 4 superstars showing their stuff. This back and forth game had the Clippers taking control early and shutting down NBA leading scorer James Harden in the first half to less than 10 points. Maurice Harkless played great defense and only Russell Westbrook’s incredible drives and hot shooting kept Houston in the game. He finished with a game high 40 points. The Clippers still had control in the 3rd quarter and built up a big lead led by Paul George (team high 34 points and Leonard with 25 points. However, 2 key plays turned the game around. First, Lou Williams got ejected after arguing a call late in the 3rd quarter and they missed his scoring the rest of the game. Then Patrick Beverly (10 points) fouled out and also got thrown out with technical fouls. Houston went on a 15-0 run in the 4th and won 122-117. Montrez Harrell continued his great play with 19 points and 6 rebounds while Landry Shamet (13 points) was only other Clipper in double figures.
Harden was slowed but then got hot late in the game and finished with 26 points (way short of his 38 per game average) as he was 8-16 from the field and 5-11 from 3 point range. Clint Capela (Mr Under-rated) had 16 points and 8 rebounds while PJ Tucker, Austin Rivers and Daniel House all had 10 points each to help with the balanced attack. It looked as if LA was going to run away with the game but the Rockets hung tough and LA got cold. Harkless did not play late in the game after his great defense on Harden in the first half.
Coach Doc Rivers said his team slacked off in the 3rd quarter which changed the game. He said the team lost their composure in the 4th quarter. Russell (Westbrook) took the game over and PJ Tucker played tough defense and got all the loose balls. Our team was flat and we had too many turnovers, he said. We did not move the ball. We became stagnant. Lou got heated and we cannot get techs in the 4th quarter. That’s the time to be the bigger man and walk away. Cain (the referee) waited and gave us a chance. It was a good lesson and I would rather happen now than in the playoffs. I liked our balance defending Harden. We were supposed to trap him in the 4th quarter and it didn’t happen. You have to respect Russell as he is the other mvp on their team. There is something there with this rivalry vs Houston but let’s keep playing them. More at www.nba.com/clippers