31-point second quarter disadvantage leads to Rockets’ loss to Clippers

Following the Houston Rockets impressive 102-93 victory in John Wall’s return to the lineup over the streaking Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, the Rockets looked to build on that momentum last night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

And though the Rockets got off to a hot start, leading 36-26 after the first quarter, it was the second quarter that helped shape the rest of the game. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers outscored the Rockets 41-10, taking a 21-point lead into halftime and never looking back, winning the contest 126-109 (box score).

Though down 21 points going into the second half, the Rockets didn’t fold, outscoring the Clippers 37-27 in the third quarter to almost cut the lead to single digits. Christian Wood led the way for Houston with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Kevin Porter Jr. scored 14 points and dished out a career-high 13 assists in the loss.

Rookie Jae’Sean Tate was yet again productive, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 from the field.

Sterling Brown and rookie Kenyon Martin Jr. were the only productive reserves for Houston, combining for 29 points and 10 rebounds while hitting 5-of-8 from downtown.

Ultimately for the Rockets, Kawhi Leonard was just too much too handle, finishing with 31 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists. With Paul George, Patrick Beverley, and Rajon Rondo all out for the Clippers, it was Reggie Jackson who stepped up to the plate, scoring 26 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists.

Houston was once again missing their floor general, as Wall missed the game due to injury management, which may become the norm during back-to-back situations for the fragile five-time All-Star. Wall had made his return to the lineup on Wednesday against the Mavericks.

The Rockets will look to bounce back tomorrow night on the road against the Golden State Warriors, who are also on their second game of a back-to-back.

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