NBA: Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets
Home » Blog » Rockets need to find some consistency vs. Clippers

Rockets need to find some consistency vs. Clippers

The Houston Rockets have been all over the place in their second-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. At times they’ve looked great, and at others they’ve just been a sloppy mess that can’t play defense, shoot or hold onto the ball.

In both Games 1 and 2 in Houston (both which were played without Chris Paul), the Rockets got off to fast starts by running out to double-digit leads. And in both games, Houston fell apart and saw those leads vanish.

In Game 1, the Rockets completely melted down on both ends of the floor, giving up 71 second-half points (WITHOUT CHRIS PAUL) and committing 24 turnovers, which led to 34 points for Los Angeles. James Harden committed nine turnovers and had several awful lapses on defense, and by the last few minutes of the game, it looked like Houston had just quit.

Game 2 was going down the same path when the Clippers turned a double-digit deficit into a double-digit lead in the third quarter. When Harden went to the bench with four fouls in the third quarter, it was approaching disaster time for Houston.

Only, the Rockets bounced back with Harden on the bench. A small lineup helped turn the tide, with Trevor Ariza doing an admirable job defensively in the post against Blake Griffin, who scorched the nets to the tune of 26 first-half points. When Harden came back in the game, he helped them surge ahead and ultimately to victory with 16 fourth-quarter points.

With the series tied 1-1 heading to Los Angeles, Houston needs to find some consistency in its performance. The turnovers remain a problem, the defense has been shoddy at times and the three-point shooting has been wretched. The free throw shooting has stunk as well, but that was mitigated in Game 2 by the fact that they shot a ridiculous 64 free throws. And to Harden’s credit, he made 15-of-15 from the charity stripe.

Harden himself has to find more consistency. He wasn’t very good in Game 1 and got off to a bad start in Game 2 before coming on late. The Rockets need Harden to play at an MVP level to win this series, so he needs to be better, even if Paul isn’t at 100 percent.

It’s still unclear whether or not Paul will play in Game 3, but the Clippers have proven they can succeed without him. Things got a bit rough in the second half of Game 2, but Los Angeles enjoyed plenty of success throughout the first two games on the road sans Paul.

There are some signs that Paul may suit up in Game 3, and that’s likely why the Rockets have gone from a 2½-point underdog to a 4½-point underdog. If Paul does play, it’ll take a much more consistent effort from Houston to pull off a key win on the road.

  • 100%