The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Houston Rockets by a final score of 115-112.
The Rockets were without their All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who is currently serving a two-game suspension due to his fisticuffs with Lakers’ point guard, Rajon Rondo, the night prior. The suspension could not have come at a worse time because the Rockets so desperately missed Paul’s playmaking and scoring abilities. The Rockets were looking to sweep the Los Angeles road trip and win their first back-to-back games of the season. However, the odds were not in their favor.
The reigning MVP, James Harden, looked the part last night. He had a game-high 31 points and 14 assists. Harden was focused in every aspect of the game, even making a few plays on the defensive end. Eric Gordon seemed to have found his shooting rhythm, shooting 5 of 8 from the perimeter.
Carmelo Anthony has yet to find his rhythm in a Rockets uniform. Anthony struggled again as he shot 3-8 from the field. Glass half-full? The Rockets as a team look like they are deep-sea diving to find out who they truly are going forward as a team, so it is too early to make a final judgment on Melo. When Anthony does get the ball, the offense is already without flow, which leaves him either to force up a shot or make a split-second decision.
James Ennis’ defensive awareness has been really low to start the season. It showed against the Clippers once again, as he picked up early fouls in short spurts.
The Rockets took a major step back on the defensive boards this season. They allowed 12 offensive boards to the Clippers and were out-rebounded 49-35. Crashing the glass starts with Clint Capela, who grabbed a lackluster 6 rebounds.
Rockets will be without their All-Star point guard, Chris Paul, yet again as they face a tough Utah Jazz team Wednesday night at Toyota Center. The good news is that Paul will join his team Friday when they seek to redeem themselves from Sunday night’s outing against the Clippers. Paul does not have to wait long for another showdown against his former team. As for Wednesday, Rockets will need to crash the boards, not allowing the Jazz to get second-chance opportunities, and they will need to come out with the same defensive intensity as last season.
*Stats from NBA.com