The short-handed Clippers lost their fifth game in a row on Friday night, a 140-116 blowout loss in Houston.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
1) Despite all the chaos surrounding the Clippers’ loss to the Rockets, reserve guard Raymond Felton stood out for his inspired play.
Felton had been called upon to deliver in a big way after teammate Austin Rivers was ejected in the second quarter, which was soon followed by Clippers Coach Doc Rivers getting tossed by the officials
The Clippers had trailed by 25 points in the first half, but Felton refused to give despite injuries to starting point guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin.
Felton scored 18 of his 26 points in the third quarter. His three-point basket late in the third cut the Clippers’ deficit to six points, making things anxious for the Rockets. Felton was seven-for-nine shooting from the field in the third quarter, including four of five from three-point range.
The point guard was forced to play 17 minutes, 10 seconds in the second half because of Austin Rivers’ ejection and Paul’s absence with a sore left hamstring.
Felton also had eight assists and five rebounds in his best game of the season.
“I don’t care about individual stuff,” said Felton, who played more than 31 minutes Friday. “Yeah, I had a good game, but we still lost and I care about wins more than anything else, and I’m still upset.”
2) J.J. Redick might have pushed to come back sooner than he should have on a sore left hamstring because the injuries are taking a toll on the Clippers.
To Redick, it’s not a subject to debate. He had missed the previous two games with his hamstring problem but declared himself ready to play against the Rockets.
“It held up,” Redick said.
Then he turned and knocked on the wood panel inside the locker-room stall inside at Toyota Center.
The Clippers play the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night, leaving many to wonder if Redick would be able to go in that game.
“We’ll see how it responds,” Redick said. “But it held up.
“It’s kind of one of those things where the initial injury was less of like a pull or a pop or anything like that. So it’s just tightness and soreness. I’m just kind of managing that and honestly just being able to play through it but still feeling like your leg is strong enough to where you’re not compensating, you’re not going to make it worse. So that’s kind of where I’m at.”
3) Other than Redick’s plus-two, none of the other Clippers had a plus in the plus-minus category.
Starting forward Wesley Johnson and backup forward Marreese Speights each had a minus-one in 26 and 19 minutes of play, respectively. The fourth-best ratio was starting forward Luc Mbah a Moute with a minus-nine.
4) Defense. Defense. Defense. Where has the Clippers’ defense gone?
It was nowhere to be found against the Rockets, who shredded the Clippers’ porous defense to shoot 55.6% from the field.
5) Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson calmly took over the team after Doc Rivers was ejected from the game with 6:13 left in the second quarter.
It was the third time this season Woodson has taken over when Rivers has been tossed from a game. The Clippers didn’t win any of the games, but they also didn’t just roll over.
But Woodson has been a head coach in the NBA for nine seasons between Atlanta and New York.
“Woody is terrific,” Doc Rivers said. “He is. He should be a head coach. He really should be.”