The Houston Rockets came into tonight's game against the Clippers at what could only be described as an emotional disadvantage. They lost a heart-breaker less than 24 hours earlier in Portland, in a game where Yao Ming completed a three point play with just 0.8 seconds left in overtime to give Houston the lead, only to see the Blazers' Brandon Roy hit about a 30-foot three-pointer to give Portland the victory. You'd never know it though, the way Houston came out and took command of this one early against the Clippers, and they never looked back in cruising to a 92-83 victory.
L.A. fell behind 25-10 in the first quarter, and while they made a couple of runs to get the game closer, they were never able to take the lead, even on a night when the Rockets' biggest star played one of his worst games in recent memory. Tracy McGrady played 26 minutes, but finished the game with just two points, on 0-5 shooting. The Clippers held the Rockets to just 43% from the field, but couldn't rise above that number themselves while trying to play catch-up from the opening tip.
Baron Davis and Chris Kaman led the team with 23 points apiece, while Davis added eight assists and Kaman grabbed 11 rebounds. Marcus Camby is still playing his way into shape after missing all of the preseason with a heel injury, but did chip in 6 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes. Tim Thomas only lasted four minutes off the bench, as he came in and sustained a foot or an ankle injury near the end of the first quarter. He did not return, so we'll have to wait to see how long he'll be kept out of action.
Mike Dunleavy said after the team's last loss that he's not interested in moral victories, and there were really none to be gained tonight after getting beaten from wire to wire. But besides the injury to Thomas, Davis and Kaman had their best games of this early season, and the team's defense was solid for the second game in a row. With the Clippers off to an 0-6 start -- their worst such streak to open the season since 1998-99 -- you've gotta look for the positives anywhere you can find them.