National Basketball Association
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         === Houston, without Harden, denies Clippers a nifty 50th ===
 
 Houston,  TX (Sports  Network) - Omer Asik had a double-double and the Houston
 Rockets  locked  down defensively in  the second half  to earn a 98-81 victory
 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday at Toyota Center.
 
 Asik tallied 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and
 Francisco  Garcia  each chipped in  with 15 points  to help fill the offensive
 void left by James Harden, who sat with a sore foot.
 
 "I  thought  everyone played with  a lot of  effort," said Rockets coach Kevin
 McHale.  "We were  more physical after kind of getting out done physically the
 last  couple  of games. The ball  really moved tonight  and it was good to see
 that."
 
 Carlos Delfino added 11 points as the Rockets snapped a five-game skid against
 the Clippers.
 
 For  the  second straight night, Los  Angeles was denied a franchise-best 50th
 win. Chris Paul had a team-high 19 points, Jamal Crawford followed with 15 and
 Blake Griffin scored 12 in the defeat.
 
 "They  played  harder than we  did," said Clippers  coach Vinny Del Negro. "We
 were terrible, our effort was terrible, our attitude was terrible, our urgency
 was terrible, very disappointed."
 
 Despite  missing its leading scorer Harden, Houston managed to stay in control
 of  the Pacific  Division-leading  Clippers  and maintained  a  55-50 lead  at
 halftime before breaking the game open in the second half.
 
 Parsons'  triple four  minutes into the third bumped Houston's edge to double-
 digits,  and later on, contributed another during the Rockets' quarter-closing
 15-4 run to create an 85-63 spread. Houston shot 11-for-19 in the period.
 
 The  Clippers were  brutal offensively in the second half, failing to reach 20
 points  in either quarter. Houston held them to 32.5 percent shooting over the
 last  two  periods and  Los Angeles  never came  closer than  14 points in the
 fourth.
 
 The  Rockets  were dominant  in the paint  throughout, outscoring the Clippers
 48-26,  and  Garcia's 13-point second  quarter -- which  included a trio of 3-
 pointers  -- helped  keep the Rockets in  front over the last 8 1/2 minutes of
 the period.
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 The Rockets moved to 26-11 at home ... The Clippers' Matt Barnes left the game
 with a sprained left ankle and did not return ... Houston scored 19 points off
 Los Angeles' 19 turnovers ... The Rockets shot 9-for-25 from long distance.
 
 
 
 03/31 00:58:56 ET