NBA: Rockets defeat Clippers to earn .500 season

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Cam Whitmore scored 21 points and Amen Thompson recorded his first career triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists as the visiting Houston Rockets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-105 in the regular season finale for both teams on Sunday.

Jabari Smith Jr. had 15 points for Houston (41-41), which won for the third time in its last four games and avoided a fourth straight losing season. Jalen Green, Nate Williams and Boban Marjanovic each added 13 points apiece.

Terance Mann led the Clippers (51-31) with a season-high 24 points. Amir Coffey scored 18 points, Daniel Theis added 16 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Boston Jr. had 15 points, and Xavier Moon finished with a season-high 14.

Both teams relied on reserve players in a game that did not have any postseason implications. The Clippers trailed 105-102 with 3:09 remaining before Houston closed on a 14-0 run to secure the victory.

The Clippers played minus multiple players with their playoff seed already secured prior to the contest. Paul George, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Bones Hyland were each rested, while Kawhi Leonard missed his eighth straight game due to right knee soreness.

The Clippers will face the No. 5 seed Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs for the third time in the past five years.

Houston was also without numerous players, including Fred VanVleet (right hip contusion) and Dillon Brooks (left adductor soreness).

The Rockets led 24-21 after one quarter and 44-35 with 5:19 left in the first half, but the Clippers held a 51-48 advantage at intermission after closing on a 16-4 run.

Moon made his first career start and scored 10 points in the first half to lead the Clippers. The teams combined to shoot 8 of 33 (24.2 percent) from 3-point range for the half.

Houston led 85-83 at the end of the third quarter after shooting 57.1 percent from the field for the period. Mann scored 16 points in the quarter for the Clippers.

The game marked the Clippers’ final regular-season contest in the Crypto.com Arena before relocating to the new Intuit Dome in nearby Inglewood next season.

–Field Level Media

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