The Houston Rockets avoided a game 5 elimination after a blowout victory at home versus the LA Clippers. Offensively the Rockets minimized turnovers while managing to shoot 54 percent from the field, but the big story of the game was James Harden who recorded a triple double with 26 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds. Trevor Ariza (22 points) and Dwight Howard (20 points, 15 rebounds) also helped their team bounce back from two consecutive losses, including a loss on their home floor.
The LA Clippers tried continuously to claw their way back into the game as Blake Griffin lead all scorers on the team with 30 points, unfortunately, they struggled to score from deep, and finished the game shooting just 9-35 from the three-point line.
The Hack-a-Jordan strategy executed by the Rockets also proved effective against the DeAndre Jordan while completely disrupting the Clippers offensive rhythm. Jordan shot 7-16 from the free-throw line and played limited minutes (24:13) due to early foul trouble.
“They were more focused,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “They played like they were the desperate team and we didn’t play very desperate.”
The Rockets will head back to LA in a must win situation at the Staples Center where the Clippers have played exceptional basketball this postseason.
Post game reactions and Game 6 predictions below.
FINAL SCORE: HOU 124 – LAC 104
Rockets vs. Clippers Game 6 Predictions:
Steve Turner (NBA Contributor): The Rockets really responded the way they needed to. The Clippers were up 3-1 and the Rockets had an impressive showing in game 5. This is the Rockets team we seen earlier in the season. They were had the energy they needed and played aggressive. The Hack-A-Jordan is something that happens in the game and people need to get used to it. If the player can’t convert a free throw, it’s only right that the opposing team takes advantage of it.
Game 6 Prediction: I would love to see this series go to game 7. The Clippers have been looking great in the playoffs but I believe it just wasn’t their night. With the momentum the Rockets have though, I’m taking them in game 6.
Keith Rivas (Editor): I don’t know why the hack-a-whoever idea is still legal. It gets REALLY boring to watch and I’d much rather watch the obvious victor cruise to the promised land rather than players floating from side to side of the court.
If that’s what I wanted to watch, I would straight flip the channel to Maury or something.
Back to basketball.
The Clippers will take Game 6 and the series because they’ve shown they’re insane to beat at Staples Center — I mean, the last two games played there were absolute routs.
Plus, Chris Paul is good to go. Looks like it’s all or nothing for Los Angeles.
Prediction: Clippers 98, Rockets 78
Jr. Williams (NBA Editor): It appears that the Rockets have finally showed an interest in playing basketball. James Harden played a solid game, and Dwight Howard didn’t get owned by DeAndre Jordan for the first time in this series– great news if you’re a Rockets fan. Sadly, Kevin McHale is still the head coach. I have zero faith in him motivating this team to play this series, and I think he will be fired if the Rockets fail to advance to the next round.
Game 6 Prediction: All-in-all, I think the Clippers have the best coach and personnel to win this series. Game 6 will be close but I think the Clippers will close out the series 4-2. The Rockets have displayed some of the worst defense and lack of mental toughness among any team that advanced to the postseason. This series is OVER!