Paul George scored 28 points, Marcus Morris Sr. added a 21-point double-double and the Los Angeles Clippers staved off the Houston Rockets for a 109-101 win on Wednesday.
As he did in the Clippers’ home victory over the Rockets on Monday, George carried the offensive load down the stretch. His finger roll with 5:26 left built the lead to 98-89, and George added two point-blank baskets before assisting on a Morris 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 105-93 with 3:02 to play. Morris, who scored 18 of his 21 points in the first half, grabbed 10 rebounds.
George shot 10-for-20 and combined with Morris to shoot 7-for-16 from behind the arc.
Alperen Sengun led the Rockets with 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green scored 22 points apiece for Houston, which has dropped five consecutive contests. Daishen Nix added 12 points off the Rockets’ bench.
After erasing a sizable deficit in the first half and trailing by three at the intermission, the Rockets stayed in the fight into the third quarter, taking a 71-70 lead on a Green 3 at 6:00.
But George responded with a 11-foot turnaround jumper and a pair of 3-pointers that pushed the Clippers’ lead to 78-71. When Houston went cold at the close of the period, going nearly four minutes without a score stretching into the fourth, the Clippers had a working margin.
The Rockets’ reserves saved them from a miserable start, one that included the Clippers turning a 13-0 run into a 23-5 lead on Morris’ 3-pointer with 4:04 remaining in the first quarter. Houston shot 0-for-3 and committed three turnovers during the Clippers’ surge, one stalled by a Nix 3.
Nix sparked a 19-8 run that enabled the Rockets to shave the deficit to 31-24 before Terance Mann beat the buzzer with a 3. When Sengun completed a three-point play that capped a 10-0 run at the 6:48 mark of the second, the score was tied 40-40.
After trailing by 18 points, the Rockets took their first lead on a pair of Porter free throws with 2.9 seconds left in the first half. But Sengun followed by fouling Nicolas Batum as he hit a 3 at the buzzer, and Batum completed the four-point play as the Clippers took a 56-53 halftime lead.
–Field Level Media