10 in a row: Three takeaways from Sunday’s 121-100 loss to the Clippers

Jan 15, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) defends a drive by Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun (28) in the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

10 in a row: Three takeaways from Sunday’s 121-100 loss to the Clippers

The Rockets have lost 10 in a row and 15-of-16 after Sunday’s 121-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. It marks the third straight season a Rockets losing streak has hit double digits after losing 20 in a row during the 2020-21 season and 15 in a row last season. Sunday’s loss was the eighth by double digits during this streak. The Rockets played without Kevin Porter Jr., who missed his second straight game due to a left foot contusion, as well as Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate, who were suspended for leaving the bench during Friday’s altercation in Sacramento. Terrance Mann led all scorers with 31 points, while Kawhi Leonard added 30.

Offense stalls in the fourth quarter

The Rockets trailed by one when the third quarter ended, but the Clippers started the fourth quarter on an 18-4 run as the Rockets started the final period 2-of-10 with four turnovers. Without Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, and Jae’Sean Tate, the Rockets had to play with some different lineup combinations.

Alperen Sengun was off the floor during the fateful start of the fourth quarter, and he was missed, finishing the game’s first three quarters with 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists, but things didn’t get much better after he returned to the floor. The Rockets shot 5-of-20 in the fourth quarter with seven turnovers.

Eric Gordon showcase

With the NBA’s trade deadline less than four weeks away, Gordon reminded people what he can do when he’s featured in an offense. Gordon matched his season-high with 24 points on Sunday, but almost all of his damage came from inside the 3-point arc. He connected on just one of his five attempts from long distance, while the rest of his made baskets came from the paint. He also attempted eight free throws, the most he’s tried since Jan. 12, 2022.

K.J. Martin dunk party

Martin entered the game 10th in NBA with 83 dunks, but he was up to seventh by the time the first half ended. The Rockets forward, starting for the second straight game, finished with seven dunks, six in the first half. Houston’s first two buckets of the afternoon were Martin dunks that came off cuts and were assisted by Alperen Sengun. He also had a put back dunk and created his by getting to the rim himself.

Martin, who is scheduled to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest next month in Salt Lake City, finished with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting and nine rebounds. He’s now scored in double-figures in 25-of-43 games this season and has hit the 20-point mark twice on this road trip.

Next up

The Rockets’ four-game trip through California concludes Monday night when they take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

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