Clippers take down Rockets
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Blake Griffin poured in 23 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 101-93 win over the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.
Darren Collison added 19 points off the bench and DeAndre Jordan scored 13 points to go with 10 boards and four blocks for the Clippers, winners in three straight.
Chris Paul scored 14 points and handed out nine assists in the win.
"Tonight we got stops when we needed to. It starts with defense," Griffin said.
Dwight Howard paced Houston with 23 points and 11 boards and James Harden added 18 for the Rockets, who had won two straight entering the contest.
Jordan Hamilton knotted things up at 76-76 with his 3-pointer 1 1/2 minutes into the fourth, but Darren Collison and Jared Dudley hit back-to-back treys to give the Clippers an 82-76 edge.
The teams traded buckets form there until Omer Asik slammed one home to pull the Rockets within 86-83 with just under five minutes remaining. Collison countered with a 12-footer to open a 13-6 swing that put the hosts on top 99-89 with 1:17 to go.
Houston never got closer than six the rest of the way.
"They made a couple of big shots and we missed shots. We couldn't generate anything. We didn't play a very complete game. We have to quit throwing the ball to the other team," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.
The Clippers opened the game on a 10-0 run, but led just 26-22 after 12 minutes. Houston used a 15-5 run in the second to go up 37-31. The Clippers scored 12 straight to take a 43-37 lead with 4:09 to go in the first half, but the Rockets closed the frame with an 11-3 push to go into the break leading 48-46.
Paul's layup put the Clippers in front 56-54 moments into the second half and neither side led by more than four the rest of the frame. LA owned a 74-73 lead entering the final frame.
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford suffered a left calf strain in the first half and did not return ... The Clippers scored 30 points off 20 Rockets turnovers ... LA outscored Houston 54-46 in the paint ... Hamilton scored 16 points for the Rockets ... Harden, who scored 43 points on 11-of-20 shooting on Tuesday, went just 6-for-16 from the field on Wednesday.