Kevin McHale: Rockets were different team from Game 1 to Game 7

Los Angeles Clippers' Jamal Crawford covers his face as he walks down the court in the closing seconds of the second half in Game 7 of the NBA basketball Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Houston. The Rockets won 113-100. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Jamal Crawford of the Clippers hides his face in the closing seconds of the Clippers’ 113-100 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday at Toyota Center in Houston/Photo by David J. Phillip, Associated Press

 

Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale on Sunday evening was asked to talk about the difference between the Rockets team that lost Game 1 by 16 points at Toyota Center to the team that won Game 7 by a 113-100 count there over the Clippers in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals to move on to the conference finals against Golden State.

“Game 1 and Game 7 were two different teams completely,” he said. “The Game 1 team was really lethargic, walking around and we didn’t play with much pace and force.

“The Game 7 team you saw today was the way we played most of the year. With force, with aggression.”

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Blake Griffin has 12 points in first half, but Clippers trail Rockets 56-46

The Houston Rockets on Sunday led by as many as 15 points in the first half before settling for a 56-46 lead over the Clippers at the break in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at Toyota Center in Houston.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 12 points and Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford each scored 10. Interestingly, Paul had only one assist.

Dwight Howard and James Harden scored 12 points apiece for the Rockets and Josh Smith had nine points.

The Clippers are doing a much better job on the boards, outrebounding the Rockets 26-24. Houston outrebounded the Clippers by 19 in each of the past two games – both Rockets victories.

The winner will advance to the conference finals against Golden State.

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Clippers could use better shooting from beyond the arc in Game 7

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan don’t look too happy here during the second half of Game 6, a 119-107 loss to the Rockets on Thursday that resulted in a Game 7 for Sunday back in Houston/Photo by Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

 

The Clippers shot 37.6 percent from 3-point range during the regular season, third-best in the NBA. They have shot just 25.7 percent and 23.3 percent from beyond the arc in the past two games of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets – both Clippers losses.

Coach Doc Rivers on Saturday was asked specifically how hopeful he is that will improve in Game 7 on Sunday at 12:30 at Toyota Center in Houston. He then touched on the fourth quarter of Thursday’s Game 6, when the Clippers shot just 4 of 22 from the field – 2 of 9 from 3-point range – in their 119-107 defeat.

“I mean, we’ve had open shots,” he said. “You look at that fourth-quarter debacle, I mean, we had a lot of open looks. It’s funny, live I thought we did. And on film, it was even better than I thought.

“Not only did we have open looks, for the most part, we had them by the guys that we wanted to and they just didn’t go in. The one thing that will never change is it’s a make-miss league. If you make them, you’re better.”

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DeAndre Jordan: ‘We have a job to do’ in Game 7 at Toyota Center

DeAndre Jordan guards Dwight Howard of the Rockets/Staff photo by John McCoy

 

With their epic collapse in Game 6 at Staples Center on Thursday, the Clippers will have a difficult task in trying to defeat the Houston Rockets in Game 7 on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Toyota Center in Houston.

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan knows it.

“We have a job to do,” he said. “We have to be able to go in there with a tough Houston crowd and try to get a win.”

The Rockets will be trying to become just the ninth team in NBA history to come back to win a seven-game series after being down 3-1.

The Clippers led Game 6 by an 87-68 count with 3:04 to play in the third quarter before the Rockets outscored them 51-20 the rest of the way, defeating the Clippers 119-107.

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Doc Rivers doesn’t think Clippers will play Game 7 with Game 6 hangover

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers walks off the court with Chris Paul after their 119-107 loss to the Rockets. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

Doc Rivers and Chris Paul get ready to exit the court at Staples Center after the Clippers fell apart in Game 6 and lost 119-107 to the Houston Rockets/Staff photo by Michael Owen Baker, Los Angeles Daily News

Doc Rivers met with reporters before practice Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston ahead of Game 7 against the Rockets on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

Not surprisingly, he was asked about the proverbial hangover his team might be feeling after falling apart in Game 6, when the Rockets outscored the Clippers 51-20 over the final 15 minutes to emerge with a 119-107 victory to force Game 7.

“Whether we have a hangover or not, I don’t think so,” Rivers said. “That’s all I can say. I mean, I don’t know, obviously. But I don’t think so. I think the guys, yesterday, they were still beat up a little bit. Then we got through the film and, you know, if you looked at it rationally and that’s what I try to do, if you look at it for three quarters, we were fantastic. And so you go through the bad stuff and then you move on to the good stuff and I think that gives them some kind of comfort.”

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Chris Paul only cares about team accomplishments, not individual

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are not happy campers here during Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinals series with the Houston Rockets. The Clippers were outscored 51-20 over the final 15 minutes of action, falling 119-107 at Staples Center/Associated Press photo by David J. Phillip

 

Not only are the Clippers trying to get to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history, Clippers guard Chris Paul is trying to do the same. He’s in his 10th year and he’s in his seventh postseason, fourth with the Clippers after having three with New Orleans.

Paul was asked about that at practice Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston, and he shot down any thoughts of individuality in this regard.

“It’s solely team,” he said. “Anybody who knows me knows it’s always been that and that’s what this is. If it wasn’t, I would have taken up golf or tennis or even ping pong; I like ping pong, it’s sort of individual. But everything that we do is always about the team.”

Paul was pressed by a reporter who wanted to know what it would mean to him to get to the conference finals.

“Is that what you play for?” Paul said. “I mean, I don’t know, do they give you a trophy for that?”

 

Game 7 is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Toyota Center.

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Dwight Howard says his Houston Rockets must stay humble, focused

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard/Photo courtesy of Houston Rockets, NBA.com

 

In a postseason where momentum has started and stopped rather quickly, Dwight Howard’s response was not surprising when he was asked if his Houston Rockets can take some of that from their 119-107 comeback victory over the Clippers in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals Thursday at Staples Center.

“We’ve got to start out fresh,” he said postgame. “This game is over with. We had a great game, but we’ve got to put it behind us. We have some lessons that we can take from this game and use it in the next game, but this game is behind us.

“You know, we haven’t done anything yet but tie the series. We’ve got to try to stay focused, stay composed, stay hungry and stay humble.”

The series is tied 3-3. Game 7 is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Toyota Center in Houston.

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Trevor Ariza predicted before 4th quarter his team will win NBA title

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers walks off the court with Chris Paul after their 119-107 loss to the Rockets. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

Doc Rivers and Chris Paul start to walk off the court after Thursday’s meltdown that resulted in a 119-107 victory for the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals/Photo by Michael Owen Baker, Los Angeles Daily News

 

The Houston Rockets apparently felt good entering the fourth quarter of their 119-107 victory over the Clippers in Game 6 on Thursday at Staples Center.

Once the Rockets cut their 19-point deficit to 13 after three, at least one of them knew they had the Clippers where they wanted them.

Trevor (Ariza) said at the beginning of the fourth quarter, ‘We are going to win the championship, but we have to win this game right now. If we win this game right now, that’s how you become a champion,’ ” said Corey Brewer, who had 15 of his 19 points in the fourth. “Then we came together and got the win.”

Houston center Dwight Howard smiled when pondering what had taken place.

“This game was, it was amazing,” he said. “I just stopped looking at the clock and the score. We all just gave up ourselves for the team. We played big minutes, we played hard, we played together and we never stopped believing.”

When James Harden went out of the game with 1:33 to play in the third, the Rockets were still down 89-73. Harden, who has been under the weather, did not play another second. He checked in with 1:01 left in the game, which by then was over, but checked right back out.

The Rockets outscored the Clippers 51-20 over the final 15 minutes of action.

Game 7 is Sunday at Houston.

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