With a 128-95 beatdown in game 4, the Los Angeles Clippers take a 3-1 lead in their series against the Houston Rockets, not letting hack-a-Jordan tactics ruin their day, making the most of the poor Kevin McHale coaching and the lack of heart players like James Harden and Dwight Howard are displaying.
DeAndre Jordan Shakes Off his Free Throwing Blues
A new record for free throw shooting in the first half set by DeAndre Jordan (28 attempts) didn’t help the Houston Rockets. It just ruined the game and took them out of the flow. The Clippers were frustrated, but never let it get to them too much. They kept on playing, and the Rockets have only so many fouls to give. Once they stopped trying to stop the game at every opportunity, it became a dunk fest, including Jordan with some brutal alley-oops.
Jordan was tapped. And tapped again. At some point even the referees didn’t want to call it anymore, but they had to. He finished with 14-of-34 from the line. Five shots short of the Shaquille O’Neal record. Jordan finished the game with 26 points. He’s shooting abysmally from the line, but it’s not taking him out of the game. He’s been through it in the series against the Spurs. It seems both he and his teammates are doing a much better job of handling it this time. Especially against a team with no heart.
The Houston Rockets Keep Quitting
The Rockets keep getting blown out. Dwight Howard was ejected for two technical fouls, and was clearly more in the mood of beating up Blake Griffin while the latter was trying to dunk on him than actually playing defense. The rest of the team has quit on him, not trying to stop anyone or not knowing how (we’ll get to that), so why should he do it?
James Harden did get to the line 10 times, but this series and maybe this postseason shows something about the player who many thought should have won the regular season MVP instead of Curry. If he’s not getting the calls on almost every drive like in that weird game 2, he’s not that great of a player. Sure, he’s not shooting that badly and he’s feeding others, but his defense is atrocious again and he’s not giving the Rockets that extra something you usually get from a superstar like him.
Maybe it begins with a head coach that doesn’t have a plan, instead simply following what the general manager tells him to do. Kevin McHale is a hall of fame player and maybe a coach guys like playing for, but he doesn’t seem to have the ability to change things from the sidelines. His players are withering away due to idiotic hack-a-Jordan tactics, and he’s unable to find any answer, especially on defense.
Matchup Problems or a Mental Thing?
Are the Houston Rockets simply giving up midway through every game, or is this simply a matter of a bad matchup? Of James Harden not knowing what to do when there’s a switch? Of guys like Terrence Jones being ill equipped to handle this kind of intensity, pace and physicality? Of the Houston Rockets being a great regular season team, but not the kind that can overcome tougher mental challenges later on in the season? The Clippers aren’t that more experienced than them, but it seems that the first round series against the Spurs, as long and difficult as it was, simply made them better and more prepared for what’s next.