Los Angeles, CA—The Los Angeles Clippers (3-2) won their second straight game over the Houston Rockets a team that last year won 65 games the most by any team in the 2018 season. They defeated the Rockets 133-113 Friday night less than a week after defeating them last Sunday night at Staples Center.
The Clippers were up three midway through the third but finished the quarter on a 15-7 run to push their lead to 96-85 heading into the fourth. They never looked back from there, ultimately pushing the lead to 20 points.
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Montrezl Harrell the former second round pick of the Houston Rockets in 2015 was a huge reason for the Clippers success. He played with a certain energy it seems no one on the Rockets team was able to match. He was grabbing rebounds, diving after loose balls, and blocking shots as well as changing shots. He finished with a game-high and career-high 30 points (8-14) FG and made 14-15 from the free throw line, shooting more free throws than the Rockets starters combined who were without its superstar James Harden (Hamstring).
"He was good last year and what we found in the second half of last year what no one knew was that he could score, because he hadn't done it yet in the NBA," coach Doc Rivers said after the game. That's why practices are so important and every day in practice he's scoring, and we start thinking maybe this guy can score, and he's proven that he can."
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The bench outscored the Rockets bench 86-41. Lou Williams had 23 points off the bench. Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who has been a key piece off the bench for the Clippers had another solid performance with 10 points.
The Clippers were a +13 from the free throw line (35-22) and found a way to despite giving up 16 off. rebounds. Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari who have led the Clippers in scoring in the first four games this season combined for 31 points. Gallinari only attempted five shots was (7-7) from the free throw line, and Harris had a team-high 9 rebounds to go along with his 15 points
The Houston Rockets now just 1-4 on the season have yet to win a home game. According to their point guard and floor general Chris Paul who was returning from serving his two game suspension after the altercation last Saturday night against the Los Angeles Lakers said after the game:
“All in all, we've got to get better in all aspects of it," Paul said. "We've just got to figure it out. Luckily, it's early."
With no Harden a lot of the playmaking decisions fell on the shoulders of Paul who was just (3-13) from the field, but did have a game-high 8 assist.
Carmelo Anthony got his first start of the years and had a team-high 24 points making (6-10) from deep said in a post-game interview about the team’s struggles:
"I can't really pinpoint it at this point right now," he said. "We're still all trying to just figure it out. I know we keep saying that it's early but there's some things we have to figure out quickly just to try to get this thing rolling."
The Houston Rockets have a tough Portland team coming to the Toyota Center on Tuesday 10/30. While the Los Angeles Clippers fly back to Los Angeles to host the Washington Wizards on Sunday 10/28. 6:30 PT.