Clippers, Rockets battle in Western Conference showdown

( - The Los Angeles Clippers will close out their tour of Texas Saturday night when they visit the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.

The Clippers handed the Dallas Mavericks a 109-103 defeat Thursday night thanks to Chris Paul's game-high 31 points and nine assists. Paul made 9-of-18 shots from the field.

Paul helped the Clippers rebound from a loss to New Orleans on Wednesday in the opener of a five-game road trip.

"It was big for us," said Paul on the outcome of the game. "This would have been a tough loss especially after last night. Going into Houston is a big game, but it feels good to get a win on this trip."

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan each recorded double-doubles in the win, as Griffin registered 18 points with 13 rebounds and Jordan added 16 points with 15 boards. Griffin had scored 20 or more points in each of the past 30 games and averaged 27.0 points and 9.1 rebounds in that stretch.

Los Angeles, which is closing in on a Pacific Division title, sits third in the Western Conference -- one game ahead of Houston -- and leads the NBA with 107.4 points per game.

The Clippers are 14-2 in their last 16 games and 20-17 as the guest. They still have to visit Minnesota and Phoenix on the road trip.

Houston has enjoyed a fine month of March and will close it down Saturday versus the Clippers.

The Rockets have won five in a row and are 10-3 this month. They just handed the Philadelphia 76ers their 26th consecutive loss with Thursday's 120-98 decision, as James Harden posted a triple-double of 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. It was Harden's second career triple-double.

Terrence Jones tallied 20 points, seven boards, four steals and two blocks for Houston, which improved to 29-7 at home this season. Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons had 17 and 16 points, respectively, with Howard pulling down 13 rebounds.

"We got into rhythm and guys started getting stops and getting out in transition like we've been doing the last couple of games and it ended up in the result that's been coming the last couple of games," Jones said.

Houston has won 11 in a row at the Toyota Center and is second behind the Clippers with 107.0 points per game. The Rockets have scored 100 or more points in six straight and 11 of the last 13 games.

In injury news for Houston, guard Patrick Beverley reportedly suffered a torn meniscus in his knee and had five points in less than eight minutes against the Sixers. Beverley is averaging 9.9 points this season and a timetable for his return is unknown.

The Rockets have lost the first three meetings with the Clippers this season and are winless in nine of the last 11 games in this series. The Clippers, though, have lost eight of 12 and 14 of their last 20 trips to Houston.