After losing six games in a row, and starting 0-5 in the James Harden era, the Clippers snagged a crucial home win on Friday night versus the Houston Rockets. LA trailed by five with a little over two minutes remaining before roaring back. Harden gave his new team the lead with a patented step-back 3-pointer that resulted in a four-point play with just six ticks left on the clock.
The victory, which brought the Clippers to 4-7 and 1-2 in the NBA In-Season Tournament, was more of a relief than it was a cause for celebration. But it gives them some positive momentum, at long last. The mood is changing in the locker room, too.
“Vibes was definitely high,” George said on Podcast P, presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment. “You get one win and now the expectation has changed, the energy has changed, that attitude going into games has changed…We were getting better and now we finally got over the hump. So now we know what that feels like.”
Although the eight-time All-Star is obliviously biased, this is not merely an instance of cockeyed optimism. LA fought valiantly on the road against the Denver Nuggets last Tuesday before falling short, 111-108. Furthermore, there is too much talent on this roster for things not to improve.
It remains to be seen what the Clippers' ceiling is, but the foursome of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden and Russell Westbrook should increase their chemistry in the coming weeks. A pair of games versus the San Antonio Spurs (3-10) should provide them with a prime opportunity to keep the good times rolling.