The Rockets were competitive against the Lakers on Tuesday but eventually fell when Kobe Bryant poured in a game-high 37 points and Andrew Bynum finished with 21 points and 22 rebounds for his first career 20-20 game, leading the Lakers to a 108-99 win over Houston.
Kyle Lowry was just one assist shy of a triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine helpers while Luis Scola finished with 20 points and Chase Budinger had 16 for the Rockets, who were unable to carry momentum from a 95-84 win over Atlanta on Saturday and are still looking for their first road win of the season (0-3).
"We had some defensive breakdowns," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. "They made shots over us tonight. We have to get guys to drive and attack the paint."
As for the Clippers, Paul had 17 points and made several key plays at both ends of the court in the final seconds on New Year's Day, leading the Clips to a 93-88 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Paul, who had seven assists, made a layup to give the Clippers a 92-88 lead and then guarded Jamal Crawford tough at the other end, forcing a jump ball as Crawford tried to get a shot off.
Five inches shorter than the 6-foot-5 Portland guard, Paul won the jump ball and Los Angeles gained possession with 2.6 seconds left to seal just its third win in the last 15 games against the Blazers.
"I take pride in controlling the game. As a point guard, you have to," said Paul. "This was a very important win against a good Portland team. We have to win and that's what I came here to do."
Blake Griffin scored 20 points with 10 rebounds to lead Los Angeles and Caron Butler added 19 points as the Clippers snapped a two-game losing streak, winning for the first time since beating Golden State in Paul's debut with the team on Christmas.
As for tonight, veteran guard Chauncey Billups, who has missed two games with a sore right groin, could return to the lineup.
The Clips dropped three of four to the Rockets last season and have won just three of their last 15 home games against Houston.