News » Rockets exploit collapse by Clippers Brooks, bench take over when L.A. turns cold ROCKETS: Bench helps in sinking Clippers

Rockets exploit collapse by Clippers Brooks, bench take over when L.A. turns cold ROCKETS: Bench helps in sinking Clippers

Rockets exploit collapse by Clippers Brooks, bench take over when L.A. turns cold ROCKETS: Bench helps in sinking Clippers Rockets update

Wednesday: Rockets 102, Clippers 85.

Record: 10-8.

Today: At Golden State Warriors, 9:30 p.m.

TV/radio: FSH; 610 AM and 1010 AM Spanish.

LOS ANGELES - The ploy worked.

The Rockets put Aaron Brooks on 6-7 Rasual Butler, with Brooks barely able to look Butler in the Adam's apple, and the Clippers thought they saw an advantage. Butler hit a jumper, then another and another.

The Rockets had them. The Clippers' offense, which had gone through the Rockets throughout the game, bogged down and was never the same, breaking down badly as the Rockets pulled away for a 102-85 win Wednesday night at Staples Center.

The Clippers were hitting 56.8 percent of their shots after Butler's jumpers over Brooks. But Butler seemed to tire, turning the ball over and twice turning down the ball.

Soon, the Los Angeles offense ground to a halt, running plays uncharacteristic of its usual style, as players not accustomed to being role players to Butler stood around watching.

"They are so worried about the mismatch, you get caught up in it," said Shane Battier, who switched to defend Baron Davis. "It can ruin the flow of the offense. That has happened to us. What we learned from that, you have to get that mismatch after running some offense."

The Clippers missed six consecutive shots and had two turnovers. When Luis Scola sank a 16-footer, the Rockets led 67-58 with 5? minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Still leading by eight with four minutes remaining before the fourth quarter, the Rockets made just two of their next nine shots as the Clippers closed within 76-72 heading into the fourth.

But by then, a Rockets defense that had begun the game horribly had taken over, and the Clippers could not shake themselves from the slump that began when they built their offense around Butler.

The Rockets pulled away for good in the final 6? minutes, with Carl Landry driving to a three-point play and Trevor Ariza hitting a jumper and reverse to make it 91-82.

The Clippers missed 10 consecutive shots. The Rockets pushed their lead to 20. From the time Butler hit his third consecutive jumper to Davis' meaningless jumper with a second left, the Clippers made just eight of 31 shots the rest of the way.

Ariza and the Rockets' bench took care of the fourth quarter, with Chase Budinger, Kyle Lowry, David Andersen and Landry combining for 46 points. Davis had 20 for the Clippers, but his only points in the fourth quarter came on a 3 just before the buzzer.

Brooks led the Rockets with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting. As he had in his previous half in Staples Center, Brooks scored easily and often in the first half, flying past Davis to drive the offense before it could fall into the struggles of the previous two games.

The rest of the starting Rockets made just six of 16 shots in the half, combining for 13 points. But beginning with several bolts through the Clippers, Brooks hit all seven of his shots in the first half, scoring 17 points and keeping the Rockets even with the Clippers at halftime and drawing defensive attention.

With Budinger adding 12 points in 11 first-half minutes, the Rockets could have expected to leave the floor with at least the five-point lead they held midway through the second quarter. But they were not doing anything to slow the Clippers.

At first, the Clippers kept pace by hitting the offensive glass. But before long, they were making one easy pass to open shots, hitting 62.5 percent of their shots in the second quarter.

So by the end of the half, the Rockets switched their defense to put Battier on Davis and Brooks on Butler. And the Clippers were trapped.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 4, 2009


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