NBA: Clippers rest stars, fall to lowly Rockets

Field Level Media, Reuters

Posted at May 15 2021 12:04 PM

NBA: Clippers rest stars, fall to lowly Rockets 1
LA Clippers guard Rajon Rondo (4) drives against Houston Rockets guard Armoni Brooks (7) and forward Kelly Olynyk (41) during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Bob Levey/Pool Photo, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Kelly Olynyk collected 20 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds as the Houston Rockets ended a seven-game losing streak with a 122-115 win against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

The loss dropped the Clippers (47-24) into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with the Denver Nuggets. Both teams have one game left.

The Nuggets own the tiebreaker against Los Angeles, which concludes its regular season on Sunday evening at the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-50), the same time Denver plays at the Portland Trail Blazers (41-30).

Seven players scored in double figures for Houston (17-54), which had lost 12 of 13 and 44 of 49.

Jae'Sean Tate scored 20 points, Khyri Thomas had 17 points and Anthony Lamb also scored 17 off the bench for Houston, which finishes its season on Sunday at Atlanta.

Luke Kennard scored 23 points, Jay Scrubb scored 17 in his third NBA game, and Serge Ibaka returned from a two-month absence caused by a back injury and scored 15 off the bench in 17 minutes for Los Angeles.

The Clippers rested their two leading scorers, Kawhi Leonard (24.8 points per game) and Paul George (23.3), after they played on Thursday night in a 113-90 road win over the Charlotte Hornets.

The Rockets held out 10 players, including leading scorers Christian Wood (21.0) and John Wall (20.6). Wood has a sore ankle and Wall is nursing a hamstring strain.

Houston led 73-69 at the half after shooting 63.6 percent from the floor.

The Rockets then scored the first four points of the second half to move on top by eight, and they later used a 9-0 run to take their first double-digit lead.

Up by as many as 17 points late in the third quarter, Houston eventually took a 12-point lead into the fourth.

The Rockets maintained the double-digit advantage until the Clippers went on a 10-0 run to pull within five with 5:49 remaining.

Houston came back with a 7-0 surge to re-establish its double-digit lead.