Thursday’s Rockets vs. Clippers showdown at Staples Center saw two of the home team’s key players ejected during the contest. Both Lou Williams and Patrick Beverly were sent back to the locker room, and the Clippers ultimately unraveled, losing their double-digit lead.
All of that resulted in a 122-117 home loss to the visiting Houston Rockets.
Westbrook, Beverly continue their feud
Russell Westbrook has feuds going on with a few guys on the court in the NBA. That includes the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and, of course, the Rockets’ Patrick Beverly. The two got into it again during Thursday’s game.
At one point, Beverly ended up eventually ejected from the contest. However, Russ couldn’t contain himself and decided to do a bit of taunting to wave goodbye with some talking as Beverly started to exit.
As NBA on TNT analyst Chris Webber explained during the game, the two players’ feud extends back to Westbrook’s days with the Thunder. During a playoff matchup, Beverly was guarding Westbrook, who ended up hurting his knee on one of the plays.
Just last month, Westbrook made comments to downplay Beverly’s defensive efforts. That seemingly continued the feud which picked up during their latest game.
Beverly initially fouled out from the game with just under three minutes remaining. However, he and Westbrook began “jawing with each other,” leading to double technical fouls. Since it was Beverly’s second technical, he ended up ejected from the game.
After the game, Westbrook commented about the interactions, which led to his technical foul. When Westbrook was asked if he wished he didn’t get into it with Beverly because of the technical foul, he replied, “What else is new?”
Reporter: “After Patrick Beverley got ejected, James Harden came over to you. Do you wish you didn’t do that?”
Rockets’ Russell Westbrook: “Why would I wish I didn’t do it?”
Reporter: “You got a technical.”
RW: “What else is new?” pic.twitter.com/GiGgzOLmKY
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) December 20, 2019
Meanwhile, Lou Williams got into a heated argument with lead official Kane Fitzgerald late in the fourth quarter.
Despite head coach Doc Rivers’ best attempts to restrain Williams and calm him down, he kept up the arguing and was subsequently ejected.
Lou Williams goes OFF on the refs, gets ejected ? pic.twitter.com/SrFlzlezGk
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 20, 2019
Head coach Doc Rivers reacts
After the game, the players and their head coach were clearly frustrated with how they allowed themselves to self-destruct on their home court. However, head coach Doc Rivers believes it can only help the team moving forward.
“We lost our composure as a team,” Rivers said. “It’s a good learning experience for us.”
“I’d rather for it to happen now than in the fourth quarter of a playoff game,” Rivers added, per ESPN. “We will see if that is a learning experience. The techs have to be. That is something we can control.”
In another moment with the media, Rivers game some thoughts on the heated Clippers-Rockets rivalry, joking to “protect the tunnels” when it comes to these two teams playing.
Doc Rivers on the Clippers-Rockets rivalry – “Protect the tunnels.” pic.twitter.com/3M4mmY3PO3
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) December 20, 2019
Things started well for the home team. The Clippers looked to be ahead comfortably at halftime of the game, leading 69-54. However, they only managed 18 points in the third quarter, with the visitors scoring 36.
The fourth-quarter issues didn’t help as they ultimately blew that double-digit halftime lead and lost the game.
Russell Westbrook finished with a game-high of 40 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. James Harden contributed 28 points and 10 assists in the win for his team.
For the Clippers, their All-Star pair of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 59 points, 18 rebounds, and seven assists in the loss. They keep a similar distance from the Lakers for the Western Conference lead as the Lakers fell to the Bucks on Thursday evening.
The Clips try to bounce back when they play the San Antonio Spurs on the road Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.