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Clippers Earn Statement Win Over Rockets

Blake Griffin's 23 points and 16 rebounds helped the Clippers past the Rockets.

Blake Griffin’s 23 points and 16 rebounds helped the Clippers past the Rockets.

The Los Angeles Clippers recorded a statement win Wednesday, defeating the Houston Rockets 101-93 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

In what could turn out to be a dress rehearsal for the Western Conference playoffs, the Clippers used a solid fourth quarter performance to get by a Rockets side that has been red hot of late.

The Clippers jumped out to a 17-4 lead in the first quarter, taking advantage of some sloppy play from the Rockets, but Kevin McHale’s side quickly climbed back into things, and trailed by just four at the end of the opening stanza.

The Rockets would take the lead before the half and into the fourth quarter, but a 27-20 fourth quarter advantage for the Clippers – which included seven points in the final 2:09 from Darren Collison – proved to be enough to give the Los Angeles side a third win of the season over Houston.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 23 points, but was held without a dunk all game – a rarity of late. Griffin also tallied 16 rebounds, including six at the offensive end, three assists, two steals, and a block, for a solid all-around performance.

Collison added 19 off the bench, while Chris Paul narrowly missed out on a double-double as he recorded 14 points and nine assists. DeAndre Jordan meanwhile notched his 30th double-double of the season, scoring 13 and pulling down 10. He added four blocks for good measure.

After signing with the Clippers – and reuniting with coach Doc Rivers – earlier this week, Glen Davis suited up with his new club for the first time Wednesday. The seven-year forward out of Louisiana State tallied two points and two rebounds in five minutes to begin life in Los Angeles.

The Clippers’ defense would prove to be the difference in this one. Los Angeles held a 12-6 advantage in steals; an 8-4 edge in blocks; a 20-11 advantage in turnovers; and a 30-10 edge in points off turnovers.

The Clippers defense managed once again held James Harden in check.

After going off for 43 points in three quarters against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, Harden was limited to 18 points on 6-for-16 shooting, including just 1-for-6 from behind the arc. The fifth year guard averages just 34.3 percent shooting in his career against the Clippers, according to STATS LLC.

Dwight Howard recorded a double-double with 23 points – on 9-for-12 shooting – and 11 boards, while Jordan Hamilton added 16 points off the bench. But Chandler Parsons was limited to seven points on 3-for-13 shooting.

The victory marked a third straight win for the Clippers, and a sixth success in eight games. Perhaps more crucially, it gave Rivers’ side a 3-0 advantage over the Rockets. That means the Clippers will take the tiebreaker should the teams finish the year with identical records.

It was the eighth win for the Clippers in nine games against the Rockets.


The Clippers are reportedly interested in signing Danny Granger.

Not everything finished rosy for Rivers and Co. Already without J.J. Redick (hip), the Clippers lost Jamal Crawford to a calf strain before the half, leaving the perimeter further weakened. The team is reportedly interested in signing Danny Granger, who was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, to help fill the gap.

Houston meanwhile finished a five-game road trip 3-2, and moved to 8-8 against Pacific Division opponents.

Since January 1, the Rockets have gone 18-6 to become one of the hottest teams in the Association. However, five of those six losses have come against teams that could be playoff bound; the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies (twice), Golden State Warriors, and the Clippers. That might be enough to get Kevin McHale a little concerned.

The defeat also saw Houston slip a game back of the Portland Trail Blazers, leaving the Rockets in fifth-place in the Western Conference.

Vegas Impact

The Clippers (34-26-0 ATS) covered the spread (-5) for the third time this season against the Rockets (30-25-3 ATS).

It was also the third straight contest in which Los Angeles had covered the spread, after three games failing to cover. Houston is just 4-4-0 ATS in its last eight games.

The total (223) went under for the second straight head-to-head matchup between the two sides.

The Clippers (34-24-2) have favored the over on the season and had seen the total go over in eight of their last nine heading into this matchup.

Houston (26-30-2) has favored the under on the year, but had seen the total go over in four of five heading into this one.

The Clippers will travel to Houston to close out this season’s four-game head-to-head series on March 29.

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