The Los Angeles Clippers jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the visiting Houston Rockets to open the game and hung on for a playoff-intense 101-93 win in a battle between the two western conference power-houses.
“They always get off to great first quarters. We let it happen again.” Said Rockets guard James Harden who poured in 18 points. He added, “Coming out behind 17-4, trying to fight our way back, we got back into the game. But if we play solid not giving up so many easy points in transition we make the game easier for ourselves.”
The Clippers (40-20) converted 20 Rockets turnovers into 30 points.
“I thought it was our ball pressure (that won the game).” Said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. “I thought we were up into them most of the game.”
“They had 30 points off of our 20 turnovers and 19 second chance points.” Said Rockets coach Kevin McHale. “You give up 49 points, that’s just way too much.”
The Clippers were led again by Blake Griffin who scored 23 points making it 18 straight games he’s scored 20 or more points. He also pulled down 16 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan also worked a double-double scoring 13 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. He also blocked four shots. Chris Paul finished with 14 points and nine assists.
The Rockets (39-19) were led by Dwight Howard with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Guard Jamal Crawford – who was on a tear scoring a combined 60 points in L.A.’s previous two wins – went 2 for 10 from the floor scoring just eight points leaving the game early in the second quarter with a strained left calf and didn’t return.
Darren Collison stepped in scoring seven of his 19 points in the last two minutes of the game to put it away for the Clippers.
“The thing about us is we’re resilient.” Said Collision. “When someone goes down, we find a way to win games.”
To hear more post game comments from both teams, click on the video with this story.
The Clippers return to action Saturday at Staples Center when they host the New Orleans Pelicans. Tip-off is set for 7:40.