Five things to take from Clippers’ 100-98 loss Sunday to the Houston Rockets

James Harden (No. 13) and Trevor Ariza of the Rockets celebrate their 100-98 victory over the Clippers as Chris Paul and Matt Barnes look on/Photo by Kelvin Kuo, Associated Press

- People are going to wonder if Blake Griffin’s return from a staph infection in his right elbow threw the team out of whack and that was why it committed 20 turnovers. Griffin had five of them, DeAndre Jordan four and Chris Paul and J.J. Redick three apiece. But if you watched the game, it really didn’t appear that way. Griffin’s five turnovers certainly had to do with rust, but coach Doc Rivers afterward said he didn’t think that Griffin affected the team’s rhythm, even if Griffin’s timing was off. Griffin’s high for turnovers this season is six in a 101-97 victory Dec. 29. He had five on four other occasions.

- Griffin made 4 of 10 shots from the field, scored 11 points with 11 rebounds and eight assists. He also had two steals and a block. Under the circumstances, that wasn’t too shabby at all. He said his elbow was sore at the end, but that was expected. Griffin also told reporters he has only 60 percent of his strength in his right triceps as a result of his down time.

- Jordan Hamilton had a good game off the bench, scoring eight points on 3 of 5 shooting – 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. But he sustained a high ankle sprain late in the third quarter and did not return. Hamilton’s second 10-day contract is up, and coach Rivers said after the game that he was going to more than likely sign Hamilton for the rest of the season.

- It’s somewhat amazing that the Rockets shot just 37.2 percent from the field – 23.3 percent (7 of 30) from 3-point range – and they still beat a Clippers team that shot 43.9 percent overall, 46.2 percent (12 of 26) from beyond the arc. All one has to do is look at what happened at the free-throw line for an explanation. Houston shot 36 free throws and made 29 for an 80.6 percent clip. The Clippers shot 24 and made just 14 (58.3 percent). DeAndre Jordan was just 1 of 8, and his season percentage is now 40.1.

- The Clippers had done a fine job holding down James Harden in three previous games. He had scored 16, nine and 21 points while shooting just 12 of 37 from the field (32.4 percent) – 3 of 20 (15 percent) from 3-point range. He scored 34 points in this one, making 7 of 16 from the field, 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. His aggressive play allowed him to go to the free-throw line 18 times and he made 17. Harden is averaging 26.9 points on the season, second in the league behind Russell Westbrook (27.5).

 

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VIDEO: Chris Paul and James Harden have heated exchange in Rockets’ win

The Rockets defeated the Clippers 110-105 on Wednesday night at Toyota Center in Houston. Near the end, things got a bit heated between the Clippers’ Chris Paul and the Rockets’ James Harden when Paul doled out a rather hard foul on Harden. Check it out:

Harden led the Rockets (39-18) with 21 points, but he shot just 4 of 13 from the field. Jamal Crawford scored 24 points for the Clippers (37-21) and DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul scored 22 apiece with Jordan grabbing 19 rebounds.

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Chris Paul, Clippers will have their hands full with James Harden at Houston

James Harden goes up with the ball during Houston’s 113-102 victory over Minnesota on Monday/Photo by Pat Sullivan, Associated Press

 

The Clippers will be tipping off with the Houston Rockets at Houston at 5 p.m. tonight (Wednesday). When they do, they figure to have their hands full with Artesia High School product James Harden.

The 6-foot-5, sixth-year shooting guard is averaging a league-high 27.3 points as well as 6.8 assists and 5.8 rebounds. On Monday he had his second triple-double of the season when he came through with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in Houston’s 113-102 victory over Minnesota. He threw in a steal and four blocks for good measure.

Clippers guard Chris Paul was asked about Harden after the Clippers’ 90-87 loss to Memphis on Monday. Paul gave Harden the ultimate compliment.

“Team defense,” said Paul, when asked what could slow down Harden. “James is one of the few guys in the league that you cannot guard with one person. James is the leading scorer in the league right now. He is like one of those guys, like (Russell Westbrook), LeBron (James) and Kevin Durant.

“He can score in so many different ways, so you have to defend him with the entire team.”
Harden, who averaged 18.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists his senior season at Artesia, played his college ball at Arizona State before being drafted third overall in 2009 by the Oklahoma City Thunder, for whom he played three seasons.

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Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford combine for 51 points in victory at Houston

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 30 points in the Clippers’ win Friday at Houston/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Blake Griffin scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Jamal Crawford scored 21 off the bench to lead the Clippers to their fifth win in six tries on this seven-game road trip, 102-85 over the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center in Houston.

The Rockets (12-4) were without center Dwight Howard, power forward Terrence Jones and point guard Patrick Beverly, all sidelined with various minor injuries; Jones has played in only four games this season, Beverly in just seven. Howard leads the team in rebounding with an 11.3 average and also averages 18.8 points and 2.3 blocks.
The Clippers (10-5) shot 46.9 percent from the field, 36.0 percent (9 of 25) from 3-point range. J.J. Redick contributed 15 points, Chris Paul had 10 points, seven assists and five steals; DeAndre Jordan had seven points and 13 rebounds; and Spencer Hawes came through with seven points and eight rebounds.

Defensively, the Clippers excelled. They held the Rockets to 39.0 percent shooting, 27 percent (10 of 37) from beyond the arc. James Harden led Houston with 16 points, which was well below his team-leading 25.3 average heading into the game.

 

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Without Blake Griffin most of the way, Clippers still win at Houston

Despite having Blake Griffin for only six minutes, the Clippers on Saturday defeated the host Houston Rockets 118-107 at Toyota Center.

Griffin went out in the first quarter with back spasms. He did not return. Also, reserve Glen “Big Baby” Davis was sent to the locker room in the second quarter by coach Doc Rivers following a verbal confrontation between the two near the Clippers’ bench. He, too, did not return.

Chris Paul led the Clippers, who clinched a playoff berth, with 30 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and three steals and only one turnover in 39 minutes.

DeAndre Jordan contributed 20 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks for Los Angeles. He did not have to face Rockets center Dwight Howard, out with a sore ankle.

Matt Barnes, who hit a big 3-point shot down the stretch for a 10-point lead, had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

James Harden led the Rockets (49-23) with 32 points and Chandler Parsons scored 28.

The Clippers (52-22) moved two games up on Houston in the Western Conference standings.

Next up, Monday at Minnesota.

 

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