John Wall sparks Rockets in surprisingly close loss vs. Paul George, Clippers

The Rockets put forth quite an effort on Friday night, but they didn’t have enough late in the fourth quarter as the Clippers rallied to a 109-104 victory (box score) at Toyota Center. Los Angeles (43-19) remains in control of the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference standings, but they were given a strong push by last-place Houston (15-45).

All-Star forward Paul George led the way with 33 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers, while Reggie Jackson added 19 points and 5 assists. John Wall led the Rockets with 27 points and 13 assists, while frontcourt starters Christian Wood (24 points, 19 rebounds) and Kelly Olynyk (23 points, 10 rebounds) each had strong games to keep it close.

Los Angeles outscored the Rockets, 33-24, in the final quarter.

“No matter what our record says, it’s still the game of basketball,” Wall said postgame. “We’ve got some veterans and some young guys, and no matter what’s going on, you never want to have any quit in you. There’s always something to play for.”

Yet again, Houston was quite short-handed. Kevin Porter Jr. (health and safety protocols) DJ Augustin (left ankle), Sterling Brown (left knee), Dante Exum (right calf), Eric Gordon (right groin), Avery Bradley (illness), David Nwaba (right wrist) were all unavailable, though Danuel House Jr. did return after missing the last 10 games with a sprained ankle. In addition, Wood said will likely miss at least one game in the coming days. The 6-foot-10 big man has been plagued by ankle injuries this season.

See below for a compilation of Friday’s highlights and postgame reaction. Houston will fly to Denver overnight in preparation for Saturday’s game at Denver, which tips off at 9:00 p.m. Central. Since Wall played Friday, he is unlikely to play due to back-to-back maintenance.

“We’re very, very banged up, going into tomorrow’s game, and I’m not sure what it’s going to look like at this point,” head coach Stephen Silas said postgame. “Those guys fought hard.”


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