The Rockets were in desperate need of a win after dropping two of their last three contests and they were close to get it thanks to a solid display near the rim in both ends of the court in the first half, but Houston was massively outplayed in the final 24 minutes as the Clippers rallied back to win 107-94.
The Clippers already had issues defending the paint against the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat, surrendering more than 40 points near the rim in each game. The Rockets were able to exploit that deficiency early in the game thanks to the dominant play of Dwight Howard, who finished the first half with 16 points.
The high-octane Rockets looked poised to get the win but the Clippers turned the game around in the second half, sparkled by a huge 18-0 run between the third and the fourth period. DeAndre Jordan was key on the glass, finishing with 18 rebounds as he allowed the Clips several second chances grabbing seven offensive boards and Jamal Crawford scored at a consistent clip, ending the game with 16 points coming from the bench.
The Clippers grabbed the lead on the end of the third quarter thanks to a buzzer-beater tip off from Crawford and they never let it go in the final 12 minutes as the game ended with a win for Doc Rivers’ team.
Many pundits placed the Clippers as title contenders before the start of the season and even when it’s clear that the team still needs to gel and learn how to play together under a new system, they can be considered a legit threat to win the NBA title once it’s all said and done if they can replicate this performance several more times throughout the season.