Lou Williams made another statement for an All-Star Game nod and Blake Griffin delivered a dominating complementary performance as the Los Angeles Clippers claimed a 113-102 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday at Staples Center.
Williams scored 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting and added nine assists as the Clippers (22-21) extended their winning streak to five games and climbed above .500 for the first time since the first week of November. Griffin tallied 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to help the Clippers seize control early in the second half and ruin the return to Los Angeles of Rockets guard Chris Paul.
After the Clippers erased a 10-point deficit with a 14-2 run in the second quarter, Williams helped close the half with nine consecutive points as the Clippers took a 59-56 halftime lead.
While Houston (30-12) had no answer for Williams, its poor perimeter shooting and lackadaisical ball-handling paved the way for the Clippers’ rally. The Rockets shot just 6 for 27 from behind the arc in the first half and, combined with eight first-half turnovers, didn’t muster enough offensive efficiency to counter the dynamism Williams brought to the table prior to the intermission.
In the third quarter, Griffin enjoyed his turn, matching Williams’ 9-0 run as the Clippers extended to an 81-69 lead. The Rockets, who had their modest three-game winning streak snapped, failed to slice the deficit inside two possessions the remainder of the game.
All five Rockets starters scored in double figures with Paul, who spent six seasons with the Clippers before an offseason trade brought him to Houston, posting 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Eric Gordon scored 19 points for Houston while Trevor Ariza added 17 with three steals. Houston shot just 40.4 percent from the floor and missed 31 of 44 3-point attempts.
The Clippers, who rallied from a 15-point, second-half deficit to defeat the Rockets 128-118 last month, shot 55.7 percent (44 for 79) from the field. Milos Teodosic and Tyrone Wallace scored 12 points apiece for the Clippers.
—Field Level Media