Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - DeAndre Jordan was hacked early and often, setting a Los Angeles Clippers franchise playoff free-throw attempts record by halftime.
But he didn't have to worry about his struggles from 15 feet away after the break.
Another Clippers' third-quarter surge let Jordan off the hook.
Jordan had 26 points and 17 rebounds, and the Clippers routed the Houston Rockets 128-95 to grab a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.
"I'm sorry you guys lost your reservations," Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers joked to the media about the length of the game.
Jordan visited the charity stripe on seemingly every possession over the first 24 minutes. He made just 10-of-28 of his attempts and the Clippers were a paltry 24-of-44 on their bonus shots as a team.
"I was just trying to make as many as I could for our team and on the other end just try to get us as many stops as I could in a row." Jordan, whose 28 attempts set an NBA record for a first half, said.
LA finished 37-of-63 at the foul line for the game, with Jordan making 14 of his 34 shots.
The Rockets resorted to the Hack-a-Jordan plan after Dwight Howard picked up a pair of quick fouls in the first few minutes. Howard eventually fouled out and was ejected in the fourth, recording seven points and six rebounds.
"Just trying the muck up the game a little bit," Houston coach Kevin McHale said of the fouling. "We had to get small and thought we could get them out of their rhythm."
The strategy didn't take the Clippers out of their rhythm much. They led 60-54 at halftime and pulled away using a 21-4 run to begin the third quarter.
Austin Rivers carried the Clippers during a third-quarter surge in Friday's Game 3 win. LA outscored Houston by 18 points in the third quarter on Sunday.
Doc Rivers discussed how the game plan worked in his team's favor from a defensive perspective.
"I love our defense when it's set and every time we go to the free-throw line, we can set our defense," he said.
Jordan connected on six of his seven shots from the field for the Clippers, who can advance to their franchise's first Western Conference final Tuesday with a win in Houston.
Chris Paul was again on a minutes restriction due to his right hamstring injury, but was able to play 16 minutes in the first half due to the plodding pace.
"He's just walking down the floor every time," Doc Rivers said.
Paul, who missed the first two games of the series due to the injury and played 23 minutes in Game 3, logged 26 minutes in all despite not seeing the floor for much of the fourth. He posted 15 points and 12 assists in the win.
Blake Griffin supplied 21 points and eight rebounds and J.J. Redick added 18 points for LA, which led by as many as 37.
James Harden tallied 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Houston.
Jordan scored eight points during the game-clinching run to start the third, with three of the four baskets coming on emphatic dunks.
Paul hit Jordan for an alley-oop dunk along the right baseline before finding him again with another lob down the lane for a one-handed slam to cap the burst for an 81-58 margin midway through the frame.
"They came out and ran at us," McHale said of the early stages of the third.
LA took a 103-79 lead into the fourth, where it cruised to another easy victory.
Earlier, the fouling strategy began at the 5:34 mark of the first quarter. Houston opened up a 25-17 lead after Trevor Ariza knocked down a pair of threes in an 11-second span. Harden hit a 3 in the waning seconds of the first for a 33-30 lead.
Jordan was 7-of-14 from the foul line in the first and floundered even more in the second, going 3-of-14.
"Personally, I don't like it," Harden said of the fouling strategy.
Despite Jordan's stumbles, the Clippers still managed to rip off an 11-0 swing to create some distance late in the second. Griffin concluded the flurry with a pair of layups for a 58-49 spread with under a minute to go in the half.
Shaquille O'Neal holds the playoff record with 39 free-throw attempts ... LA was 12-0 during the regular season when Jordan made 14-or-more free throws ... The Clippers scored 23 points off 21 Houston turnovers ... Harden has scored 20-or-more points in 10 straight playoff games.