CLIPPERS SUMMER LEAGUE: GAME 3 RECAP

Eric Patten, Clippers.com

7/15/14

CLIPPERS STRUGGLE TO KEEP UP WITH ROCKETS

LAS VEGAS – The Clippers seemed doomed from the start.

They scored just 10 points in the opening quarter of their 83-59 loss to the Houston Rockets at Cox Pavilion, a drought that carried for the duration of Tuesday’s Summer League game.

They topped 20 points in just one quarter, shot 16.7 percent from the 3-point range, committed 35 turnovers and were plagued by fatigue and bumps and bruises.

The Rockets took a 19-10 lead at the end of a first quarter that included just 10 made field goals by both teams. But Houston pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring the Clippers by 13 and eventually earning a lead as large as 27 in the second half.

THREE TAKEAWAYS

- Errant shooting led to defensive lapses. Following the game, Clippers Summer League coach Brendan O’Connor said the 4-for-13 start from the field contributed to his team’s problems on the defensive end.

“I think what happened is we missed a few shots early and it kind of took the wind out of our sails,” O’Connor said. “That’s the worst thing that can happen. We’ve got to hang our hat on our defense. Doc [Rivers] says it all the time, when things aren’t going well on the offensive end, that’s going to happen some nights in the season. But we’ve got to make it happen defensively.”

- Kyle Kuric took advantage of an opportunity, at least early. While Shawn Jones led the Clippers with 10 points and eight rebounds, Kuric put together a nice stretch in the first half. He scored seven of the Clippers’ first 15 points, including his first 3-pointer of Summer League. Prior to Tuesday, Kuric, the former Louisville standout, had gone scoreless in eight minutes. He doubled that court time against the Rockets and finished with nine points, two steals and two rebounds off the bench.

- Delonte West goes down. West left the game in the third quarter with a sprained right ankle and did not return. It spoiled some of the positive momentum West had generated after a well-rounded performance on Monday. He had just two points and one assists in 14:18. He remained on the bench, though, using a towel to stretch the injured ankle.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Amath M’Baye: “Last year, coming out of college I was asking myself a lot questions… A year later, everything slows down and I understand that.”

O’CONNOR’S TAKE

“I’d like to say that we are tired. I think we are. It’s been a tough week. But the thing is those guys (the Rockets) played in Orlando, so you can’t use that as an excuse because they should be more tired than we are. It’s just disappointing after how well and how hard we played. I had so many people come up and say how hard we played after watching last night’s game. And tonight was the opposite.”

NOTES

The Clippers cut lead to 14 early in the fourth quarter, but Houston buried back-to-back 3-pointers to effectively put the game away… Former Clipper Ryan Gomes was in attendance… The Clippers are 1-2 in Summer League and await their seeding for the beginning tournament play, which begins Wednesday... Donatas Motiejunas led Houston with 15 points… The Clippers outrebounded the Rockets, 31-19… They had just eight assists on 25 field goals…