Watch James Harden drain step-back four-point play to snap Clippers losing streak
In their first game together, the Clippers new starting five clicked. Kawhi Leonard had 26 points and eight rebounds. Paul George had 23 points and eight boards as well.
But with the game tied 100-100 and time running down against the Rockets, a vintage James Harden step-back 3 (that became a four-point-play) proved the game-winner.
“Perfect timing and it’s the reason why you want that talent on the team,” George said of Harden’s shot. “Down the stretch he had the ball in his hands and was making plays and on that particular play he put the game away for us. It’s great to have that talent on this side. “
That shot snapped the Clippers’ six-game losing streak since the trade for Harden, with Los Angeles going on to win 106-100.
The spacing and movement were better among the Clippers’ starting five with Russell Westbrook accepting a bench role (he struggled on the night with eight points on 2-of-9 shooting). The Clippers were +24 in the minutes Harden, Leonard, and George were on the court together on the night (stat via Justin Russo).
Everyone contributed, including a couple of big plays from Ivica Zubac late.
It’s one game, but it’s a step in the right direction for the Clippers as they try to climb out of an early-season hole and back into the playoff mix in the West. It was also the Clippers’ first In-Season Tournament win, although with two losses already they are not going to advance out of group play.
The Rockets got 23 points and eight rebounds from Alperen Sengun, who continues to have a breakout season for Houston. The loss drops the Rockets to 6-4 but they are firmly in the playoff mix early in the season.