Clippers Will Eliminate Rockets In Game 6 Of NBA Playoffs
The Los Angeles Clippers tend to take their playoff series to seven games since Chris Paul joined the team — at least when they win the game. However, I’m here to tell you that the Clippers will finish off the visiting Houston Rockets in Game 6 at Staples Center on Thursday night. L.A. is an 8-point favorite at BetOnline with a total of 219.5. On the series line, the Clippers are now -800 and the Rockets +600.
Harden Leads Game 5 Charge
After being destroyed in Games 3-4 in Los Angeles, the Rockets won Game 5 124-103. James Harden played with much more aggressiveness, despite having the flu, and had 26 points, 11 rebound and 10 assists. Rockets coach Kevin McHale tweaked his rotation a bit to play Harden for shorter stints, having him come out in the first quarter when Dwight Howard usually does. But when Harden returned, he took over, scoring 14 second-quarter points to take the Rockets to a 15-point lead. He still played 43 minutes, getting his first playoff triple-double. Harden’s triple-double was Houston’s first in the postseason since Steve Francis’ in 2004.
“We weren’t aggressive enough the first four games,” Harden said. “We were timid. They have really good bigs. We made a conscious effort to go into attack mode.”
Dwight Howard added 20 points and 15 rebounds and outplayed DeAndre Jordan, who had some foul trouble. Trevor Ariza added 22 points for Houston, and Corey Brewer had 15. Coach Kevin McHale put Josh Smith into the starting lineup and Terence Jones in a reserve role as both were struggling in the series. Smith finished with nine points and seven rebounds, while Jones provided a spark off the bench with 12 points.
Clippers Let Rockets Dictate
“They just played harder,” Coach Doc Rivers said. “They were more focused. They played like they were the desperate team, and we didn’t play very desperate tonight. Give them credit.”
The Rockets led by as many as 22 points in the third before the Clippers went on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 12, when the Rockets answered by getting the lead back up to 15.
“I don’t think any of us really did our parts,” said Blake Griffin, despite a 30-point, 16-rebound performance to lead the Clippers in both categories. DeAndre Jordan finished with 13 points and 11 rebound in 25 minutes, with the Clippers’ defense suffering as he dealt with foul trouble. Paul added 22 points and 10 assists in 35 minutes of action, his most since returning from a hamstring strain. But it wasn’t enough, with the Rockets shooting 54.1 percent in the game.
Since Paul joined the team in 2011, the Clippers have never won a series in fewer than seven games, going the distance to beat Memphis in 2012, the Warriors in 2014 and the Spurs in the first round this season. They were up 3-1 in 2012 and 3-2 in 2013 but needed to rally from down 3-2 to beat the Spurs this year. Teams leading a best-of-7 series 3-1 have gone on to win the series 96.5 percent of the time. The Clippers will finish it Thursday, although look for a Houston cover.
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