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(Saturday, March 29th)
Final Score: LA Clippers 118, Houston 107
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan both had big nights and the Los Angeles Clippers continued to have the Houston Rockets' number in a marquee matchup that wound up losing some of its star power.
Paul tallied 30 points and 12 assists and Jordan racked up 20 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks in the Clippers' 118-107 verdict at the Toyota Center, enabling Los Angeles to complete a season sweep of the Rockets despite having All-Star forward Blake Griffin exit midway through the first quarter with back spasms.
"It's crazy. I have never been on a team like this," said Paul. "I think guys when they come to the arena they are just ready (and) it's happened all season long."
Reserve forward Glen Davis also wasn't around by the conclusion of the contest, having been escorted to the locker room in the first half following a confrontation with Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
Jamal Crawford helped offset those losses by dropping in 22 points off the bench, with Matt Barnes contributing 15 points and 10 boards to Los Angeles' 15th victory in 17 games.
Houston was playing rather shorthanded as well, with star center Dwight Howard and starting point guard Patrick Beverley both unavailable due to a sprained ankle and knee injury, respectively.
James Harden scored 32 points and Chandler Parsons netted 28 along with nine rebounds, but the Rockets still had an 11-game home win streak halted and fell two behind the Pacific Division-leading Clippers for third place in the West.
"(Paul) is tough to guard," said Parsons. "He's probably the best point guard in the NBA. He's quick (and) he's fast. When he's shooting the ball like that you can't go under so you have to force him over the top."
Los Angeles polished off its fourth win over the Rockets this season with a strong final quarter. Up by just three points just moments into the period, Crawford scored eight straight by himself to stake the Clippers to a 96-85 advantage with nine minutes left.
Houston got as close as six points down after Harden buried a trey with 4:25 remaining to make the score 105-99. However, Los Angeles responded with a 9-2 run -- capped by back-to-back triples from Barnes and Darren Collison -- to go up 114-103 with under 2 1/2 minutes left.
The Clippers at first felt the absence of Griffin, who poured in seven points in just over six minutes before leaving for good with 5:49 left in the first quarter. Los Angeles trailed by 15 early in the second, then proceeded to dominate the remainder of the half.
An 11-3 spurt quickly cut the Clippers' deficit to 47-40, and they ripped off 11 straight points following a Harden bucket midway through the period to move ahead and completely reverse the momentum.
Paul snapped a 51-51 tie by knocking down a three with 4:06 to go before the intermission, then later added two more baskets as part of a 10-3 surge that put Los Angeles up by a 61-54 count with a minute to go in the half.
The Rockets scored the final four points of the frame, however, and opened up a 67-63 lead 3 1/2 minutes into the second half when Jeremy Lin followed a Parsons layup with two free throws.
Houston didn't miss Howard's interior presence or Beverley's ball-handling early on, roaring out to a 33-23 lead after one quarter behind a combined 20 points from Parsons and Harden, then beginning the second with a 5-0 sequence to extend the margin further.
Houston, which had won five in a row overall, hadn't lost at home since an 88-87 edging by Memphis on Jan. 24 ... The Clippers also played without forward Danny Granger due to a strained left hamstring ... Omer Asik drew the start in Howard's place and registered 12 points and 11 rebounds ... The Rockets committed 19 turnovers, with Harden responsible for six of the giveaways ... The Clippers have now taken nine of the 10 meetings between the clubs since the start of the 2011-12 season.
03/30 00:54:21 ET
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