Watching the Houston Rockets play Saturday night, you wouldn't have guessed they were missing their best player; as James Harden watched on from the sideline, his team obliterated the Los Angeles Clippers, 98-81, with incredible defensive effort and a rare physicality that will be necessary if they want to have a successful playoff run.
The Clippers spent most of the contest frustrated, unable to get any 50/50 balls and responding with unnecessary fouls and a couple technicals (one from Blake Griffin and another from Jamal Crawford).
Omer Asik guarded Blake Griffin in the first half, with Greg Smith starting in place of Donatas Motiejunas, and absolutely dominated him. Only one of Griffin's attempts came in the paint, and it was on a fast-break dunk.
The Rockets outscored the Clippers 30-13 in the third quarter.