The Los Angeles Clippers — partly out of necessity, partly to see if they could get a night off for a couple players — gave their available reserves plenty of run on Friday, and it paid off, as the Clippers beat the Houston Rockets 126-109 at Staples Center to wrap up another back-to-back this season.
With the news that Patrick Beverley broke his hand on Thursday and had surgery, he was out, and so was Rajon Rondo and Paul George as Ty Lue wanted to give them rest on the second of the back-to-back. The starting five was Kawhi Leonard, Reggie Jackson, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr. and Luke Kennard.
The teams started out pretty frisky, with the Clippers up in the opening minutes but the Rockets able to keep pace. After the first timeout in the 1st quarter, Houston pulled ahead, and finished the first stanza up by 10, 36-26.
DeMarcus Cousins came in the game to start the 2nd quarter, but it was rough sledding for the big man, as he racked up three separate turnovers in just over a minute. Still, he’s not played much for a long time, he needs some minutes to find some game shape.
The Clippers found a rally midway through the 2nd quarter, with Leonard hitting a 3-pointer, Jackson grabbing a steal and a 3 on the next play, and then Cousins hitting a 3 himself on the next Clippers possession. That…