Howard, Rockets fall again to Clippers

Howard, Rockets fall again to Clippers
November 9, 2013, 11:00 pm
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Highlights: Rockets fall to Clippers on Saturday

For the first time this season, the Houston Rockets have a losing streak, having lost two in a row. Despite carrying the lead from 1:49 of the first quarter until a tip-in by the Los Angeles Clippers just prior to the third quarter buzzer, the Rockets fell to the Clippers, 107-94.

That tip-in by Jamal Crawford to close out the third quarter was part of an 18-0 run that spanned six minutes and 50 seconds. During that time, the Rockets missed 10 shots, a pair of free throws and committed four turnovers.

“We missed some shots and we starting doubting it,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “Then we stopped taking some shots that we needed to take. Then we got a lot of turnovers and got really passive. We just got nothing going from that point on and they really took advantage of that.”

The lead the Clippers took was only the second lead change of the night. The Clippers led by as many as ten in the first quarter before the Rockets stormed back with a 20-4 run to take the lead, 28-22.

When the Clippers finally took the lead back and turned their 11-point deficit into a seven-point lead, the Rockets really never charged back. The Rockets never had the ball again trailing by less than four points.

“We just couldn’t muster any kind of response,” McHale said. “We started hanging our heads to much. We just need to keep playing.

“Right now we are not playing good basketball, needless to say.”

 Dwight Howard sounded like he agreed.

“We just stopped playing the way we played to get the lead,” Howard said. “They capitalized on it. We lost a couple games and they were ugly. Tonight’s game and the last game were ugly, but we can’t allow two losses like that to affect us as a team. This is a great test for us.”

Howard had 21 points, his second best total of the season, and had eight rebounds. His counterpart, DeAndre Jordan had a great game, grabbing 18 rebounds, including seven offensive rebounds, and added 12 points, most coming on thunderous dunks.

“You don’t see 30 points, but he creates more, which is rebounding, with his defense,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought his presence when we were small and he stayed inside all by himself was huge.”

Jordan played nearly the first 15 minutes of the second half without a break and during that time was instrumental in the Clippers turning the game in their favor. He grabbed 10 rebounds, had two assists, two steals, two blocks and scored four points.

For the second time in two meetings, the Rockets also had trouble slowing down J.J. Redick. Redick and Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 22 points. Redick is averaging 24 points per game in two games against Houston this season. He’s averaging 15 points a game versus the rest of the league.

The Rockets three game home stand ends on Monday night against the Toronto Raptors. The last time the Rockets had a three-game losing streak and lost all three games was two seasons ago, also in the season’s first two weeks. That home stand started with a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, just like this one. That was followed by a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, just like this one.

The final loss two years ago, came against the Oklahoma City Thunder, so maybe since the opponent Monday is the Raptors, the Rockets can shake free of that scenario.