Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and dished out eight assists Friday as the Los Angeles Clippers earned their fourth victory in a row, a 126-109 decision over the visiting Houston Rockets.
Reggie Jackson finished with 26 points, Nicolas Batum added 17 and Terance Mann totaled 16 points and nine rebounds for Los Angeles. Clippers forward Paul George didn’t play as the team gave him a rest following consecutive 30-plus-point outings, and Rajon Rondo (adductor soreness) also sat out.
Houston had six players in double figures, led by Christian Wood with 23 points. Jae’Sean Tate finished with 18 points, Sterling Brown added 15, Kevin Porter Jr. totaled 14 points and 13 assists, Kenyon Martin Jr. added 14 points and Kelly Olynyk contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Rockets, who lost for the sixth time in seven games, rested John Wall ahead of a Saturday game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. Wall has a lingering left Achilles injury.
The Clippers trailed by 10 points after the first quarter as the Rockets came out with energy. However, Los Angeles outscored Houston 41-10 in the second quarter to take a 21-point lead into halftime, and the Clippers never fell behind again.
The 10 points were the fewest the Clippers have given up in a quarter this season and the fewest Houston has scored in a second quarter this year.
The Rockets cut Los Angeles’ advantage to five points on D.J. Augustin’s 3-pointer with 7:07 left in the game. The Clippers responded by scoring the next eight points to push their lead back to double digits, and they held off the Rockets the rest of the way.
The Clippers had to adjust the starting lineup with the team announcing that Patrick Beverley sustained a fractured left hand that required surgery. Beverley, who will be out at least three weeks, was hurt chasing down a rebound in the fourth quarter of L.A.’s win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
With Beverley unavailable, Jackson returned to the starting lineup at point guard, and he finished 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
–Field Level Media