The Los Angeles Clippers played in a heated game against the Houston Rockets on Thursday night but came up short, 122-117. The game was intense as two members of the Clippers team were ejected in the fourth quarter. Lou Williams got in a heated exchange with the refs that resulted in his ejection and Patrick Beverley got heated when he tried to contest a foul but failed so was also thrown out of the game.
Russell Westbrook led the Rockets as he scored a game-high of 40 points. Along with his points he tallied five assists and ten rebounds. James Harden who is usually the lead scorer for the Rockets trailed Westbrook with 28 points, 10 assists and one rebound. Houston played well as a team on offense as all of their starters closed out the game with double digit points.
As for the Clippers, Paul George led the team with 34 points, three assists and nine rebounds while Kawhi Leonard followed with 25 points, four assists and nine boards.
Following the teams’ matchup, on an episode of UNDISPUTED: Skip and Shannon, sports analyst Chris Broussard explained why the Westbrook/Harden duo is better than the Kawhi/PG duo.
“I was impressed. They go (Rockets) in there 14-1, the Clippers were at home, to beat them like that, I think that was a good win. P.J. Tucker was the best defender on the floor. He did a great job on Kawhi, held him to 2-9, eight points in the second half.” Broussard said.
Broussard continued to praise the Rockets but gave one critique on what they need to learn in order for them to be an elite team.
“It doesn’t need to be all Harden all the time. He’s averaging 38 points, Russ is averaging 23. I would like that to be about 33 and 26,” Broussard said. “You need balance, and I know last night Russ was unusually good with 40 but you don’t need James Harden scoring 38 points…. you aren’t going to win a championship.”
Rockets vs Clippers
Both the Rockets and Clippers were ready to play as they were neck and neck the entire first quarter, closing it out with the Clippers ahead by only one point, 28-27. The Clippers picked it up in the second quarter and outscored the Rockets by 14. By the half the Clippers earned a 15-point lead, 69-54.
During the second half the Rockets were on fire. In the third quarter the Rockets scored double of what the Clippers scored and stole the lead by the fourth quarter, 90-87. Westbrook was a beast on the court as he was draining buckets all night long. Harden took the backseat to Russ as he quickly stole the show.
Shannon Sharpe who agreed with Broussard commented on Harden and Westbrook as well.
“The only time that he (James Harden) has taken a back seat that we’ve seen is Russ. They’ve got fire power,” Sharpe said.
It was in the fourth quarter where things started to get heated. Williams was guarding Westbrook when he picked the ball from underneath and was called for a foul. It was clear that play was all ball, so Williams became triggered and was ejected from the game. Beverley was next to be ejected, as he became unhappy with a foul call he received on a reach. Without Williams or Beverley, the Clippers fell short.
Skip Bayless blamed the loss on the fact that the team didn’t have Lou to close out the game.
“Lou Williams is the closer for the Clippers. It’s not Kawhi, it’s not Paul George, they’ve both come out small in closing moments in their careers,” Bayless said. “The point is, Lou Williams had to be there. This was their game at home to be won.”
The Clippers are now scheduled to play tonight against the San Antonio Spurs at 5:30 p.m. PST and the Rockets are scheduled tonight against the Phoenix Suns at 6 p.m. PST.