1st Q ends with the Los Angeles Clippers trailing 24-35.
· Fouls are a Problem:
o DeAndre Jordan had 2 fouls before there was 9:20 left
o Austin Rivers picked up 2 fouls with 7:15 left
o The referees were also having a short fuse. Matt Barnes was given a technical foul with 34 seconds left after he walked into and lightly bumped James Harden after fouling Harden.
· The Rockets shot a ridiculous total of 15 free throws in the first quarter. (They hit 10.)
o The Clippers did go 8-8 from the line though.
· Dwight Howard feasted with the absence of DeAndre Jordan. Howard shot 5-6 from the field.
· Houston was only 1-9 from three-point land. The Rockets feasted from points in the paint.
2nd Q ends with the Los Angeles Clippers leading 65-56.
· Blake Griffin. Bow before his greatness. 26 points (11-14 from the field), 5 rebounds, 3 assists (zero turnovers), and 1 block.
· Lester Hudson redeemed his supporters. He caused the first 2 turnovers for the Clippers. Hudson messed up a simple in-bounds play and pushed a floppy Corey Brewer while positioning for an in-bounds pass. Still, he provided a great offensive spark with passes, defense, and shooting. Kudos to him overall. Lester Hudson’s first half line: 5 points, 2 assists (2 turnovers), 1 steal, and 1 block.
o Austin Rivers was a lousy 0-4 from the field, with 1 assist.
· The Clippers cut their turnovers down. Only 4 turnovers in the first half.
· The Clippers dominated the quarter. It’s no surprise that DeAndre Jordan was back in the game. DeAndre Jordan was +19 in +/- at the half. The Clippers shot 16-21 in the second quarter.
· Houston was +8 in offensive rebounds and +10 overall.
· Dwight Howard started the quarter with more lobs, but was silent as the quarter ended.
o Houston shot only 6 free throws this quarter.
· The Clippers guards are struggling so far. Jamal Crawford was only 1-8 from the field. But he did provide 5 assists (with zero turnovers!!!). J.J. Redick was only 2-6 (both shots made being 3’s).
3rd Q ends with the Los Angeles Clippers leading 85-83
· With 10:30 left, James Harden gets his 4th foul
o Not necessarily a bad thing for Houston. Defensive pressure from Houston got better
· Dwight Howard gets his 4th foul at 7:22
· Reggie Miller called Corey Brewer one of the best open court players in the League. Save me, please.
· DeAndre Jordan is 4-4 from the free throw line. However, Jordan gets his 4th foul with 4:37 left
· Hacking starts: Josh Smith is the target; he goes 1-2
· Jamal Crawford has struggled from the field all night, but catches some fire to provide valuable and needed offense. Still only 4-14 from the field (but now 3-6 this quarter).
· Lester Hudson with 4 fouls at 1:48 left
· James Harden gets in and immediately draws free throws. The flailing is real.
4th Q ends with the Los Angeles Clippers losing 109-115.
· Corey Brewer’s half court chuck to end the 3rd quarter screws up the shot clock to start the 4th. Game delayed. Both shot clocks are turned off and the PA announcer will tell teams when 10 seconds left. Otherwise, courtside clocks are placed at the bottom of each basket for teams to use.
· I’m just going to say that I’m not a fan of the referees this game. I’m sure Rockets fans would say the same. I’ll leave it at that.
· The Rockets are rolling offensively. James Harden is getting to the free throw line consistently.
· The Clippers execution (especially on fast breaks) has been really disappointing. In half court sets, the Clippers (for the 2nd half in general) seem to be looking to pass it into Griffin, but he’s been covered. The execution just falls off from there.
· With 3:17 left, Clippers are only 6-24 overall from three-point land. Definitely a contrast to Game 1
o Matt Barnes’ 2 free throws with 3:17 left are his first points since the first quarter. Overall he’s 1-6 from the field and 0-5 from three point land. Still an all-around player: 4 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals (1 turnover).
· Austin Rivers with a crucial turnover with 37 seconds left. Trying to do way too much.
Overall, the Clippers should not feel too bad about the loss. The Clippers were without Chris Paul and kept the game close. The Rockets fought back in the second half when their season was on the line; that’s both expected and fine. The Rockets still haven’t shown anything that the Clippers should be too concerned about. If Chris Paul is back in Game 3, the Clippers will have MUCH better execution. The bench will also be better for the Clippers (which oddly outscored the Rockets tonight) after these 2 games gave Rivers and Hudson some playing time. Go Clippers.