|Date of game: 1/15/2013
Recap: Houston vs. LA Clippers
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Chris Paul sat for a second straight game with a bruised kneecap, but for a second consecutive night, the result remained the same.
Eric Bledsoe filled Paul's spot nicely once again, posting a season-high 19 points along with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals as the Los Angeles Clippers downed the Houston Rockets, 117-109, on Tuesday.
Blake Griffin finished with 19 points and eight assists for the Clippers, who once again got solid contributions from their bench. Jamal Crawford sank 11- of-20 from the field en route to a season-best 30 points and Matt Barnes chipped in with 18 to help Los Angeles become the NBA's second 30-win team.
Following a disappointing three-game road trip, the Rockets' poor shooting in the third quarter contributed largely to the team's fourth straight loss. James Harden led Houston with 23 points and Jeremy Lin added 12 points and 10 assists.
Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino contributed 17 and 16 points, respectively, in the setback.
"As a team, we have to learn to play together and overcome the tough situations we're having right now for the last four games," Delfino said. "It has been tough for us to come back, stick together and work hard, try to watch a little video and come back to do what we do best, which is win."
The Rockets led by one at halftime, but the Clippers came out of the locker room and completely took control of the game.
They quickly grabbed an 11-point lead at 76-65 after opening the third with an 18-6 push, which featured a three-point play from Griffin, a triple by Bledsoe and a pair of 3-pointers by Willie Green. Later in the stanza, a Caron Butler technical free throw gave the Clippers their largest margin of the quarter at 19 points.
The Rockets, who shot just 38.9 percent to the Clippers' 60 percent in the quarter, were able to close the gap to 13 points by the end of the third, but Crawford put the game away for Los Angeles with his hot shooting to start the fourth.
He scored the Clippers' first 12 points of the final stanza, burying five shots in a row to build their lead back up to 19 points with 9:11 left in the game.
"Jamal is going to score when he gets going like that," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It doesn't matter who you put on him, but overall he made some tough shots for us and opened up the lead."
Houston trailed by double-digits nearly the entire fourth quarter, only cutting the deficit to eight with 29 seconds remaining.
Griffin's thunderous one-handed fastbreak jam highlighted his 10-point first quarter, but Harden's effort put his team in front after one. He knocked down two of his five makes in the first from beyond the arc, posting 14 points in the period to help the Rockets out to a 29-28 lead.
The game stayed close throughout the second, with Houston holding a slight advantage most of the quarter. Parsons' triple with four minutes left gave the Rockets a five-point lead and they carried a 59-58 edge into halftime.Game Notes
Los Angeles has won five of its last six games ... Green finished with a
season-high 15 points ... Houston will head back on the road for a four-game
swing starting Wednesday in Dallas ... Harden has scored at least 20 points in
21 consecutive games ... The Rockets came into the contest shooting just 28.3
percent from 3-point range in their last three games and their struggles
continued on Tuesday, shooting just 13-of-37 from long distance.