Mon, 02 Aug 2021

Clippers visit Rockets with playoffs, record on mind

Field Level Media
14 May 2021, 22:05 GMT+10

The difficult portion of the regular-season schedule is over for the Los Angeles Clippers.

All that's left is to remain healthy, fine tune a few things and maybe set an NBA record before the postseason begins next week.

Los Angeles will face the Rockets on Friday night in Houston in their second-to-last game before heading to the playoffs, likely as the third-seeded team in the Western Conference.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said after a 113-90 win at the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night that he hadn't decided if stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would play in the second game on back-to-back nights, but Los Angeles (47-23) shouldn't face much resistance from the Rockets regardless.

Houston (16-54) has lost seven in a row, 12 of 13, and 45 of 51 since starting off 10-9.

Los Angeles wraps up the regular season on Sunday at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Rockets and Thunder have the worst records in the Western Conference.

The Clippers should have incentive to continue shooting the ball well the final two games.

Los Angeles leads the NBA in both 3-point shooting (41.6 percent) and free throw percentage (83.9).

The Clippers' 3-point mark would be the second-best in NBA history behind the 1996-97 Charlotte Hornets (42.8).

The free-throw mark for Los Angeles would be the best in NBA history, just a year after the Phoenix Suns set the record by shooting 83.4 percent.

The Clippers would like to display more consistency within a game than they did on Thursday, when they played one of their worst quarters of the season, followed by one of their best.

Los Angeles was outscored 24-13 in the second quarter against Charlotte while shooting 5-for-16 and 1-for-10 from 3-point distance.

The Clippers figured out how to attack Charlotte's defense at halftime, then came back and shot 13-for-15 in the third quarter, including 8-for-10 from 3-point range while outscoring the Hornets 40-30.

"Our guys came out and executed," Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.

Houston's freefall in the standings has opened the doors for some younger players to get long looks down the stretch, and they're taking advantage of the opportunity.

Cam Oliver scored 17 points in a 124-122 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. He signed with the Rockets on Monday and scored 13 points that night in his NBA debut against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Oliver is the first Houston rookie to score in double figures in his first two games since Cuttino Mobley and Kennard Winchester in 1990.

Khyri Thomas is also quickly making a name for himself with the Rockets.

A second-round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018, Thomas is averaging 16.3 points in four games with Houston.

Thomas reached double figures once in 34 games with the Detroit Pistons over the past two seasons. but hit that mark in his first three games with the Rockets before finishing with four points against the Lakers on Wednesday.

"Just starting to get the feel of everybody," Thomas said. "Still learning a lot of stuff, but at the same time I feel like if you just go out there and play hard, you'll figure it out and just roll with it."

--Field Level Media

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