In a 120-105 win over the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers defense forced the Rockets into a historically bad three-point shooting night.
On 8-of-15 shooting, Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points, while Marcus Morris, Ivica Zubac, Paul George, JaMychal Green, and Montrezl Harrell all scored in double figures.
In the game, the Rockets shot 7-of-42 from three, with James Harden missing all eight of his three-point attempts. Russell Westbrook led the Rockets with 29 points and 15 rebounds, as he has quietly catapulted into lowkey MVP talks (this is an actual discussion). In the third quarter alone, the Rockets missed 11 of their 12 three-point attempts. This game was reminiscent of the 2018 Western Conference Finals, when the Rockets missed 27 straight threes against the Golden State Warriors.
Although the Rockets lost in this game and looked horrible, the microball approach has worked for the team thus far. Westbrook is playing the best ball of his career and the defense is forcing opposing offenses into unusual sets.
The Clippers are now 43-19; a solid record for a team that has struggled to find its’ identity this late in the season. They are five games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the first seed in the Western Conference.
When the Clippers use their depth correctly, they are a hard team to stop. They have multiple scoring options who can create shots for themselves and others. Once Leonard and George have their nagging injuries worked out, this team can make a run for the NBA Finals.
The only team who can stop them are the Lakers, and the Clippers are 2-0 against them this season. For some reason, the Clippers have the formula to stopping the Lakers. Maybe the Lakers don’t take the regular season games against them as seriously.