Clippers hit the road, starting in Houston

( - The Los Angeles Clippers are back on the road and will pay a visit to the Houston Rockets Wednesday at the Toyota Center.

The Clippers will also make stops in Memphis, Chicago and Minnesota on the sojourn and went 3-5 on a recent trek from Jan. 28 - Feb. 9.

Los Angeles had won four in a row until it dropped a 90-87 decision to the Grizzlies Monday in the finale of a four-game homestand (3-1). Chris Paul led the way with 30 points and handed out 10 assists, while Jamal Crawford scored 15 points and DeAndre Jordan added nine to go along with 17 rebounds.

The game was tight throughout and a Paul turnover led to key foul shots by Grizzlies guard Mike Conley. Conley hit two free throws with 1.5 seconds on the clock to increase the margin to 90-87 and Los Angeles turned the ball over on its final possession.

"We gave ourselves a chance, it comes down to execution and I didn't execute on that last play," Paul said.

The Clippers led 22-21 following a quarter of play and 44-38 at the break. Memphis took over in the second half and halted the Clippers' six-game home winning streak. Memphis held a 40-26 points in the paint advantage.

"We were sluggish in the beginning, but we did a better job in the second half," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said.

Jordan is averaging 18.4 points and 19.4 rebounds in his last five games for a Clippers team awaiting the return of star forward Blake Griffin. Griffin underwent surgery earlier this month to have a staph infection removed from his right elbow. Griffin recently had the stitches removed and is wearing a black sleeve instead of a brace.

Griffin is expected to miss at least another week. He is averaging 22.5 points on 50.1 percent shooting from the field and 7.5 rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Rockets know what it's like to not have a force in the middle with center Dwight Howard nursing both an ankle and knee issue. Howard is not expected to contribute to Houston's playoff run any time soon.

The Rockets have beaten Toronto and Minnesota to start a five-game homestand and recorded a 113-102 triumph over the Timberwolves Monday night. NBA leading scorer James Harden posted a triple-double of 31 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and Josh Smith provided 17 points off the bench.

Terrence Jones posted a double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds.

"When I get my teammates confident to shoot their shots and be aggressive and get them in their rhythm, I can get into mine and that makes everything easy," Harden said after posting his second triple-double of the season.

Houston has won nine of its last 13 games and will also host Brooklyn and Cleveland on the homestand. It is 20-8 as the host. Rockets guard Patrick Beverly (illness) is questionable Wednesday.

The Rockets and Clippers are two of the higher scoring teams in the NBA, as Los Angeles is posting 106.9 ppg and Houston is averaging 103.2 ppg. The Rockets are 15-2 when scoring more than 110 points this season.

LA has defeated Houston twice already this season and the Western Conference foes will clash again March 15 at Staples Center. The Clippers have won eight of the past 10 games in this series.