The previous two contests between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers didn't disappoint. The teams had split the season series so far with both games ending with a single-digit margin.
The third game, today, didn't disappoint either. The stars came to play and yet again, it went right down to the wire to finish by a margin of just five points - 122-117.
Here are the biggest takeaways from this game, where the Rockets snapped the Clippers' 10-game home win streak:
Game of runs
Through the first quarter, both teams went neck-and-neck, with the Clippers leading 28-27. After that, it was a game of massive runs by both teams, including in the final minutes of the game.
Then, over the last 7:02 of the second quarter, the Clippers went on a 22-11 run to head to the locker rooms with a 69-54 lead.
That lead extended to 61-77 by the 9:03 mark of the third quarter. That's when Russell Westbrook and the Rockets rallied back. Over the next 11:32, the Rockets outscored the Clippers 40-12 run with the 2017 league MVP pouring in 20 of those.
The hosts, determined to maintain their home win streak, then punched back with a 23-6 run to take a 113-107 lead with 4:29 remaining but the Rockets weren't done.
🚀 The @HoustonRockets close out the game on a 15-4 run to win at Staples Center and move to 19-9! #OneMission pic.twitter.com/Af3opzUWKP- NBA (@NBA) December 20, 2019
Westbrook erupts for season-high performance
On a relative off-night for Harden (16 through 3 quarters), Westbrook took over and was the motor behind the Rockets' comeback in the third quarter.
His points tally of 40 is a season-high.
𝗕𝗥𝗢𝗗𝗜𝗘 𝗗𝗥𝗢𝗣𝗣𝗘𝗗 𝟰𝟬! #OneMission pic.twitter.com/vjkUezdxqu- Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 20, 2019
In his game-high 40 minutes on the floor, he also finished with 10 rebounds and five assists including a season-best 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.
Odd 4th quarter for the Kawhi & the Clippers
The Clippers were almost at par with the Rockets as they scored 30 to the visitors' 32 points.
However, it was an odd final period for LA, a stretch the Clippers have normally dominated with their best players on the court - especially over their 10-game home win streak.
A minute into the quarter, the team was without Lou Williams as he got ejected.
Lou Will couldn't believe the foul call on Russ. He got ejected real quick 😬 pic.twitter.com/ATi9V3WRdJ- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 20, 2019
Paul George scored 10 of his team-high 30 points in the quarter but Kawhi Leonard only had four points (2-6 FG's). Montrezl Harrell had six points and four rebounds in the quarter but was a -2 as he played all 12 minutes of the quarter.
With Williams out early, the above-mentioned trio combined for four of the team's five turnovers.