Clippers continue roadie with tough test vs. Rockets

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Clippers struggled with an inferior team the last time out and could be in for a long night Friday against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.

The Clippers squeezed past the Detroit Pistons, 104-98, on Wednesday at The Palace and Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 25 points. Chris Paul had 23 points and seven assists, while Blake Griffin added 15 points and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 11 rebounds.

Los Angeles made 47.4 percent from the floor and have won two in a row to improve to 4-1 on a seven-game road trip. The Pistons led 51-48 at the half and took a 73-72 lead into the fourth, but the Clippers had a 32-25 scoring advantage over the last 12 minutes.

"We started making some shots and started moving a little bit," said Paul, who is third in the NBA with 9.7 assists. "We got them to turn it over and miss a few shots, and that's when we're at our best."

The Clippers have scored 100 or more points four times during the road trip and are 5-2 away from home. They are averaging 103.3 points this season and sit third in field goal percentage at 47.2. The Clippers are 8-1 when scoring 100 or more points.

LA will close the trip Saturday against the Utah Jazz. In injury news for the Clips, forward Matt Barnes is questionable Friday with a calf strain and has missed the last two games. Barnes is posting 7.8 points this season.

Houston will close out a five-game homestand Friday and is 3-1 so far on the stay. In a 102-89 victory over Sacramento on Wednesday, Isaiah Canaan nailed six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 24 points.

James Harden had 26 points and made only 10-of-31 shots from the field, and was impressed with Canaan.

"Isaiah played extremely well at both ends of the floor," Harden said. "Our defense turned it up when we needed to."

Donatas Motiejunas hit the 20-point mark with 21 and Trevor Ariza ended with 13 points for the Rockets, who made 44.7 percent from the field and have won three in a row and six of eight games. The Rockets registered a 37-19 difference in the first quarter and scored 32 points off Sacramento's 21 turnovers.

The Rockets will visit Milwaukee Saturday night and are 6-2 at home. They are first in opponents' scoring at 91.5 percent.

Rockets center Dwight Howard has missed four straight games and could be sidelined once again. Howard is dealing with a knee issue and is posting an average of 18.8 points and 11.3 rebounds.

Patrick Beverley (hamstring) is doubtful and Terrence Jones (contusion) is listed as out for Friday's game versus the Clippers.

The Clippers won all four meetings with the Rockets in 2013-14 and are 10-2 in the past 12 matchups between the Western powers. Los Angeles has prevailed in two straight and four of the past five visits to the Toyota Center.

Howard averaged 19.0 points and 9.3 rebounds in three games against the Clippers last season and Harden amassed 19.3 points in four.

Paul had 20.3 points and 12.8 assists, and Griffin averaged 17.5 ppg in four games against Houston last season.