James Harden was in Beast Mode for the second half as the Rockets overcame an 11-point deficit to beat the LA Clippers and tie the series.
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NBA Playoffs 2015: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Houston Rockets Game 2 preview and prediction
Los Angeles Clippers PG Chris Paul ruled out of Game 1 with hamstring injury
The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 115-109 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals thanks to G James Harden.
Coming off a 117-101 by the Clippers in Game 1, the Rockets needed to find a way to shut down F Blake Griffin in order to avoid the highly undesirable 0-2 hole in the Semifinals – and the Rockets got one from James Harden as well as C Dwight Howard.
The game started for the Clippers the way they left it off in Game 1 – with a highlight reel from Blake Griffin that included an incredible 14 points in the first quarter including this powerful dunk:
But Griffin’s performance was not enough to keep the Clippers from falling into an 11-point hole in the first quarter as Harden, Howard and F Trevor Ariza kept the pressure up to give Houston the big lead. Ariza recorded one of the easiest dunks of the series on this play thanks to a timely turnover by the Clippers:
However, the Rockets were still unable to slow down Griffin as he went on to record 26 points for the Clipper in the first half, wiping out the deficit against the Rockets on this easy shot here:
Griffin wasn’t the only Clippers player on the court however – though it certainly looked that way at times. C DeAndre Jordan and bench player Jamal Crawford both finished the game with over 15 points, including a 16 points and 12 rebounds double-double for Jordan that included this massive rebound and dunk in the third quarter:
But in the second half the Rockets came absolutely unglued, outscoring the Clippers 59-44 and making an other-worldly 64 free throw shots – 42 of which were successful (the Clippers only made 32 shots all night!).
The Rockets tied the Clippers early in the fourth quarter on this play:
And then James Harden would begin the scoring frenzy for the Rockets that wouldn’t stop until they had a non-erasable 10-point lead to seal the game and give the Rockets their much needed first win of the Conference Semifinals.
Harden’s 3-pointer would prove to be the nail in the coffin for the Rockets as Houston built on their lead well beyond the Clippers’ ability to come back.
But the greatest highlight of the night didn’t come from the game itself, but a rivetting halftime “performance” by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal on the NBA Halftime Report: