LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points, Reggie Jackson added 26, and the Los Angeles Clippers used a dominating second quarter Friday night to defeat the Houston Rockets 126-109 and extend their. The short-handed Clippers, who were missing All-Star , trailed by ten at the end of the first quarter and found themselves down 40-26 with 9:57 remaining in the second before outscoring the Rockets 41-6 the remainder of the period.
Leonard scored 11, and Jackson connected on three of his career-tying six 3-pointers during the quarter to give Los Angeles a 67-46 advantage at the break. The Clippers were 15 of 21 from the field during the quarter, while the Rockets missed 14 of 15 after making their first two shots.
“To hold a team in the NBA to 10 points, that’s a good quarter,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I’m proud of our guys. We could have had a letdown (after a win over Phoenix on Thursday). We started slowly, but we are finding ways to win when we have guys out.”
The Clippers said the 31-point quarter differential is the second-largest in team history and the largest since they outscored the Lakers by 31 in the second quarter of a March 2014 game.
“We wanted to move the ball, share it,” Leonard said. “There’s going to be more focus on me, so I got to make sure I start that as a team leader and just share. And then take it from there.”
According to Sportradar, which has had quarter-point differentials since 1996, it is the most the Rockets have been outscored in the second quarter and the second-most in any quarter. They were outscored by 32 (46-14) in the first quarter against.
The Rocketsback throughout the second half. They pulled within 11 at the end of the third quarter and had their deficit cut down to five (104-99) on Sterling Brown’s 3-pointer but could not draw closer as the Clippers responded with a 16-2 run, which included eight points by Leonard.
Christian Wood led Houston with 23 points, and Jae’Sean Tate scored 18.
Rockets coach Stephen Silas was happy with how his team responded in the second half after one of their worst 10-minute stretches of the season.
“If we got down and had a quarter like that earlier in the season, we would not have fought back,” he said. “Wepick up the pressure like the Clippers did defensively, we have to meet force with force.”
The Clippers announced before the game that guards Patrick Beverley broke his left hand in Thursday’s win over Phoenix and will be out for at least four weeks after.
George, who has had two straight 30-point games, sat out the secondas he dealt with a lingering toe injury. Rajon Rondo has seen his minutes limited as he returns from an adductor injury. Center Serge Ibaka (back) missed his 14th straight.
Rockets:had 14 points and a career-high 12 assists for his second double-double. … Kelly Olynyk (13 points, 11 rebounds) has scored double-figures in Houston’s eight games. … Eric Gordon (right groin strain) did some shooting drills before the game, but Silas did not have a timetable for his return.
Clippers: LA is 9-1 when playing on the second night of a back-to-back. … Nicolas Batum’s 17 points were the most he has had in a game since scoring 16 against Boston on Feb. 5. … Terance Mann, who scored 16 points, tied a career-high with nine assists. … Jackson tied his career-high for 3-pointers made in half with five. … The 10 points allowed in the second were the fewest in a quarter since last season when LA gave up 10 in the final 12 minutes against Toronto.
Rockets: Continue their road trip aton Saturday.
Clippers: Conclude their nine-game homestand against Detroit on Sunday.
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