THE Los Angeles Clippers held the scorching Houston Rockets offense ice-cold in the third quarter to pull off a 125-96 win at the Staples Center on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford took care of the Clippers offense, leading seven players in double figures with 19 points apiece. But the most pivotal run came in the third quarter, with the Clippers going on a 24-3 run to turn a tight game into a blowout, 85-60.
The Rockets, with star James Harden picking up his fifth foul midway through the third and sat out the rest of the game, managed a season-low 12 points in the period on 5-of-21 shooting and just 1-of-8 from rainbow country.
The Clippers bench also took care of business in the fourth, extending the lead to as high as 33 points before the Rockets reserves closed out the game with a futile 8-4 run.
Blake Griffin had 18 points for the Clippers (50-31), who remained tied with the Utah Jazz for the West fourth seed after their sixth straight win. Luc Mbah a Moute added 15 markers, and DeAndre Jordan had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Eric Gordon led Houston (54-27) with 17 points, while Montrezl Harrell, Troy Williams, and Bobby Brown all scored 15 off the bench. Harden finished with 14 markers on 2-of-9 shooting in 24 foul-plagued minutes.