Clippers rout Rockets late in game, 122-116

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The team bounced back from a double-digit deficit against Houston in the fourth quarter.

The Los Angeles Clippers picked up an impressive comeback win on the road against the Houston Rockets Wednesday.

The Rockets were denied any scoring run in the second half due to the dominant Clippers trio of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden. The three combined for 30 points on 8-of-11 made field goals in the final quarter. 

“In the first half it was like we were running in mud,” Clippers’ coach Tyronn Lue said. “We couldn’t keep up with them. They got out in transition and we just couldn’t get back and get matched. So at halftime we made a strong point about that.”

Turning point: Wednesday served yet again as a slow start for LA. The Clippers found themselves behind early, allowing a 12-0 first quarter run from Houston. Fortunately for LA, the team was able to work their way back within eight point during the second quarter, but that was quickly snuffed with a Rockets surge that lifted Houston to 50-30. 

Houston continued to lead by double digits to open up the final quarter. In that period LA surged on a 8-1 run to make it a 111-109 lead. George put the nail in the coffin by drawing an offensive foul with 48 seconds left. He made all three free throws giving the team an 118-112 lead before the final buzzer.

What it means: The Clippers advance to 40-21 and defeat Houston for the ninth straight time with Wednesday’s win. It was also Harden’s first win against his former club in three years. 

LA wraps its latest road trip 2-1 after dropping one to the Milwaukee Bucks Monday.

Hits: The trio of Leonard, George and Harden was the key proponent behind Wednesday’s victory for LA. 

Leonard led the Clippers with 28 points on 11 of 18 shooting. Sixteen of those points came during the second half to ignite a spark in his team.

Misses: Before their second-half revival, the Clippers allowed eight three-pointers on 17 attempts from Houston through the first two quarters. The Rockets also entered Wednesday’s matchup as the second-worst three-point shooting team in the NBA.

Stat of the game: A 20-point deficit was not enough to keep the Clippers down, who responded by improving each quarter. As a team, the LA squad shot 40% from the field in the first quarter, 45% in the second, 63.6% in the third and 72.2% in the final period.

Up next: The Clippers return to Arena Saturday to host the Chicago Bulls. It’s the first bout of a three game home stand for LA with Milwaukee and Minnesota following Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.