Rockets salvage.500 season by defeating playoff-bound Clippers 116-105. Los Angeles' Kawhi Leonard out

Los Angeles — On Sunday, the Houston Rockets defeated the playoff-bound Los Angeles Clippers 116-105 thanks to 21 points from rookie Cam Whitmore. The win put the Rockets at.500 for the season and prevented them from dropping four in a row.  

The Rockets, who were 41-41 in coach Ime Udoka's rookie season, were already eliminated from the playoffs. Rookie Amen Thompson recorded a triple-double, scoring 18 points and adding 11 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists. Last season, Houston went 22-60, and in 2022, they went 20-62.  

In the first round of the playoffs, next weekend, the fourth-seeded Clippers, who won the Pacific Division, will face Luka Donic and the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks.  

The Clippers took their final regular season game at Arena, where Terance Mann and Amir Coffey each scored 24 points. Since 1999, it has been the venue where they have coordinated dates with the Lakers and the NHL's Kings. The upcoming season will mark the team's relocation to Inglewood's brand new Intuit Dome.  

Even with James Harden back on the court, the Clippers haven't been able to avoid losing three games in a row since losing six games in a row from November 1st to 14th. Star player Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers has been out for eight games in a row with soreness in his right knee. During that time, the squad had a 4-4 record.  

Before the game, Coach Tyronn Lue provided the typical vague comments regarding Leonard's playoff status. Time will tell. "He feels OK," Lue said, adding, "He's been doing a little something" in response to the question of whether Leonard has been exercising.  

The Clippers also rested Paul George, James Harden, Ivica Zubac, Russell Westbrook, Norman Powell, and Bones Hyland, who had a three-game scoring streak of 64 points.  

Xavier Moon started for the Clippers for the first time in his career and finished with 14 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists. Using a jump ball in the fourth, 6-footer Moon defeated 7-foot-4 Boban Marjanovic. Marjanovic reached out his extended arm to deflect Moon's shot during their rematch.

got that jump ball against him," remarked Clippers assistant coach and game commentator Dan Craig, "but he's a big boy." The final twelve minutes of the game saw Marjanovic score thirteen points. The ex-Clipper won over the crowd with a cheerful miss of two free throws, guaranteeing that they would get complimentary chicken sandwiches.  

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