HOUSTON (AP) — Craig Smith scored a season-high 25 points and had 10 rebounds as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Houston Rockets 99-93 on Thursday night to break an 11-game road losing streak.
The Clippers, who hadn't won on the road since Feb. 2, trailed by as many as 11 in the second half before using a big run to take the lead.
The short-handed Rockets were without Shane Battier and Kevin Martin, who sat out because of a sore left shoulder.
The Rockets led by one point with about seven minutes remaining before Los Angeles scored five straight points to go on top 80-76. Houston hit two free throws before Eric Gordon scored five consecutive points to push the lead to 85-78.
Houston cut the lead to three points on a 3-pointer by Trevor Ariza with about two minutes left, but Smith made a free throw followed by a jump shot by Baron Davis to make it 92-86 with less than a minute remaining.
A 3-pointer by Davis with 17 seconds left made it 95-88, and he turned around and smiled as most of the few fans remaining headed toward the exits.
The Rockets were led by Ariza and Aaron Brooks, who had 18 points apiece, and Luis Scola added 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Drew Gooden scored 17 points and had 14 rebounds for Los Angeles, Davis scored 16 and Gordon had 14.
Houston used a big run to take an 11-point lead midway through the third quarter. But Los Angeles answered with a 21-8 run to regain the lead, 69-67, with about two minutes left in the quarter.
Ariza and Smith were both shaken up early in the fourth quarter after a collision as Ariza drove to the basket. Both writhed on the court for a couple of minutes before getting up and slowly heading to the bench. Ariza was called for an offensive foul on the play.
Both players returned after a few minutes on the bench.
The Rockets used a 16-4 run to open the second half and turn a 1-point deficit into a 59-48 lead with about six minutes left in the third quarter. Three-pointers by Ariza and Chase Budinger fueled that run in a span where Los Angeles missed six shots and had three turnovers.
The Clippers got within four points early in the second quarter after a 12-6 run made it 28-24. Los Angeles then tied it four times in the next few minutes and finally went ahead, 42-40, on a layup by Gooden with about two minutes left in the first half. The Clippers led 44-43 at halftime.
It was tied at 12-all in the first quarter before Houston went on a 10-0 run, capped by a rim-rattling dunk by Ariza, to take a 22-12 lead with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.
NOTES: Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, the first overall pick in the 2006 draft, watched the game from a courtside seat. ... DeAndre Jordan, who grew up in Houston and played a season at Texas A&M, had seven points and eight rebounds for the Clippers. ... With Thursday's performance, Scola has 30 double-doubles this season.