Mar 4, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) takes a shot against the Houston Rockets in the second quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
The LA Clippers put down the Houston Rockets on the Rockets home court in a mano-a-mano battle of two Western Conference powers. Big win for the Clips. Tough loss for the Rockets. Quite simply, in my opinion, one of the best games of the season, a hard fought overtime battle by two teams who did not want to give in. Chris Paul is a giant.
There were over twenty lead-changes in the game, and neither team led by more than seven. There were a half a dozen times when it seemed like either team might be ready to take over the game, but both teams played hard defense and refused to give in. Both teams, coming off loses, also seemed to want this one bad, and the Clips manage to gut this one out.
Finally, in the overtime period, the Clippers fell behind by the three, but Paul finds Griffin on the baseline for a jam, puts a floater in from the paint, Griffin steals an inbound pass, Paul hits one of two free throws and the game is over.
- Once again, the difference maker for the Clippers is Chris Paul. It's boring, but it's impossible to over-emphasize what a difference maker the guy is. He went 28 and 10 and played 42 minutes. To my eyes, he's regained much of the quickness and athletic superiority that we didn't see earlier in the season.
- Blake Griffin. Something's up with Griffin, is it fatigue? Is he ailing somehow? He didn't have a field goal until the second period and seemed weary on the floor. But he played big in the fourth and overtime period and finished with 14 and 11.
- A nice game from the "other guys"... with Griffin not putting up his usual numbers, Caron Butler and Randy Foye game through with a very quiet and efficient 29 between them. Mo Williams and Kenyon Martin added 24 off the bench.
- I can't figure out what makes Houston good, but Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, and Kevin Martin are all quietly efficient. The Houston Rockets are somehow better than the sum of their parts.
- Darryl Morey. He loses two super stars in two years and the team never bottoms out. For some reason he replaces Rick Adelman with a coach with a much lesser resume... but Kevin McHale has a team with a flawed roster playing hard every game. I can't figure this out.
- FWIW, Clips are back in first place... percent points ahead of the Lakers.
- Patrick Patterson, who player 20 minutes off the Rockets bench is wearing what I believe is somekind of Puppetmaster alien pod thing on the back of his neck. Notice they didn't interview him at the end of the game? You shouldn't mess with a puppet master. I woudn't be surprised if ALL of the Rockets weren't wearing these things in a couple of days.
- Don't go anywhere. This was the first game of a road back-to-back. Tomorrow night, at 5pm LA time, the Clips face off against the TWolves in Minnesota, who were off tonight. Unfortunately, CP3 played 42 tonight, BG played 38, and Caron Butler played 41. But the Clips have to want the Wolves game, having lost two on their home court to the Minnesota team already this year.