If there was any question as to whether the Clippers are legitimate playoff contender prior to tonight's game rest assured any critic's suspicions have now been buried. L.A.'s ugly duckling has matured into a beautiful swan. The Clippers handily trounced the Rockets tonight in Houston and they did so in just twelve minutes. The Rockets have now lost four games in a row and what was once an awe inspiring offense is starting to look like a mirage. The Clips outscored the Rockets 32 to 18 in the third quarter and by the time Jamal Crawford (30 points) had begun a maddening scoring tear early in the fourth quarter the Rockets had already surrendered.
Eric Bledsoe was a more than adequate stop gap for Chris Paul while he rested his bruised knee. Bledsoe has slipped into this spotlight this season as one of the most promising point guard prospects in the league (this actually happened last summer) and tonight he scored 19 points (7-12, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) in a convincing fashion. If Chris Paul gets locked up long term for the Clips I fully expect some team to fork over a pretty penny in exchange for the budding young guard. Blake Griffin was the fulcrum of Los Angele's third quarter dominance and his 19 points and 8 rebounds were a not-so-friendly reminder that the rising star can do a bit more than just dunk. James Harden had a sound 23 point outing and kept his 20+ point game streak alive. Chandler Parsons had an an über efficient 17 points and Jeremy Lin contributed his first double double since Christmas day. The Rockets did not look as bad as they looked during the three game road trip that preceded tonight's loss but there was an abundance of turnovers and missed free throws that prevented any real progress. Houston turned the ball over 15 times and shot 56% from the charity stripe. Unsurprisingly, Houston's defense was nowhere to be found.
Playoff bound Clippers show the Rockets what an elite team looks like
The Dream Shake | Jan 16