Tom Sorensen

Short takes: How can the Houston Rockets justify their locker-room intrusion? Oh ...

Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers, left, drives against Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) in an NBA game in December.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers, left, drives against Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) in an NBA game in December. AP

▪  Was hard to understand how four Houston Rockets could justify walking into the locker room of the Los Angeles Clippers after the Clippers beat them at home Monday in game that became increasingly cheap. How could the Rockets justify walking into the other team’s locker room? Austin Rivers plays for Los Angeles. Never mind...

▪  In the old days, the Hornets would not have sent four players into the other team’s locker room. Alonzo Mourning would have sufficed.

▪  LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers has been the NBA’s best player for so long, it’s tough to remember when he was not. He came into the league as a 19-year-old in 2003, the year the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII. It was that long ago.

After 15 seasons of dragging his 250-pound body up and down the court, LeBron’s game is beginning to show cracks. He’s 33, and he still passes exceptionally. But does not overpower and explode the way he once did.

His Cleveland team is flawed, and it will be interesting to see if, one more time, LeBron can heal it. I’m not sure we realized how good Kyrie Irving, LeBron’s former Cleveland teammate who now leads the Celtics, was until he found his own team.

▪  The New England Patriots have played nine games since October and won eight of them. Working from Nov. 12 through the end of the season, they won by 25, 25, 18, 20, lost by seven to the Miami Dolphins, beat the Pittsburgh Steelers by three, won by 21 and 20 points. They beat the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs Saturday by 21.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, their opponent Sunday, are young and fresh and appear not to care about the absence of experience. They’re having fun, and they’ve earned the right to. But it’s tough to envision Jacksonville winning this game…

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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