Tue, 28 Nov 2023

James Harden's 4-point play pushes Clippers past Rockets

Field Level Media
18 Nov 2023, 16:40 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports)

James Harden completed a four-point play with six seconds remaining to cap a 24-point night, and the Los Angeles Clippers ended a six-game losing streak with a 106-100 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday in an NBA in-season tournament game.

Kawhi Leonard had 26 points and Paul George added 23 as the Clippers won for the first time in three in-season tournament games. Ivica Zubac had 12 points and Norman Powell had 10 as the Clippers won for the first time in November.

The Clippers lost the last five games of their skid since Harden was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. It was his second game of at least 20 points in a Clippers uniform, both in the last two contests.

Alperen Sengun scored 23 points and Jalen Green added 20 as the Rockets saw their six-game winning streak come to an end. Fred VanVleet contributed 19 points with 10 assists as the Rockets dropped to 1-1 in the in-season tournament.

With the game tied 94-94 for more than two minutes, the Rockets' Jabari Smith Jr. made a 3-pointer for a 97-94 lead with 2:57 remaining. After a Leonard miss, Sengun made a basket inside for a 99-94 advantage with 2:16 remaining.

The Clippers powered their way to a 6-0 run that included two baskets inside from Zubac for a 100-99 lead with 40.5 seconds left. Sengun tied the score 100-100 with 29.1 seconds left by making one of two free-throw attempts.

Harden gave the Clippers the lead for good with a step-back 3-pointer in front of Jae-Sean Tate, while also drawing the foul.

After a back-and-forth first half, when the Clippers led by nine points in the first quarter and the Rockets led by nine in the second, Houston was up 50-48 at halftime, despite shooting 40.8 percent from the field and getting outrebounded 26-21.

Daniel Theis, who officially signed with the Clippers earlier Friday, scored two points with three rebounds in 10 minutes of his debut. His first basket with his new team came on a dunk with 2:13 remaining in the third quarter.

--Field Level Media

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