Tobias Harris scored 23 points and Danilo Gallinari added 20 to help the Los Angeles Clippers post a 115-112 victory over the visiting Houston Rockets on Sunday night at Staples Center.
Montrezl Harrell recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Clippers won their second straight game since losing their season opener. Lou Williams and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 12 points apiece for Los Angeles, which made all 26 of its free-throw attempts.
James Harden had 31 points and 14 assists but missed a tying 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Rockets lost for the second time in three games. Clint Capela scored 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting and Eric Gordon added 21 for Houston.
The Rockets played without point guard Chris Paul, who served the first of a two-game suspension for his role in Saturday’s scrap with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was suspended for putting his finger in Rajon Rondo’s face and throwing multiple punches.
Houston trailed by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter but crept within 110-106 with 2:47 left after 3-pointers by Gerald Green (11 points) and Harden. Harris drained a 3-pointer 20 seconds later and Harrell delivered a dunk with 1:43 remaining to give Los Angeles a 115-106 lead.
Harden scored six straight points — including a four-point play with 29.5 seconds left — to cut Houston’s deficit to three. But his 3-pointer from the left flank under defensive pressure by Gallinari was off the mark as time expired.
The Rockets were 15 of 35 from 3-point range and shot 48.3 percent overall. The Clippers were 5 of 25 from behind the arc and shot 47.2 percent overall.
Houston led by five points early in the third quarter before Los Angeles went on a 14-3 surge. Gallinari scored the final five points to give the Clippers a 70-64 advantage with 6:40 remaining.
The Rockets responded with a 14-4 spurt with Green supplying the final five points for a 78-74 edge with 4:17 left in the period.
Los Angeles answered with 12 straight points with Luc Mbah a Moute capping the run with a three-point play with 2:01 left for an eight-point lead.
Harrell later capped the 39-point quarter with a three-point play with 1.2 seconds to go to give the Clippers a 93-84 lead entering the final stanza.
The Los Angeles lead reached 11 on a basket by Lou Williams with 9:58 left in the contest. Houston moved within 104-98 on Green’s three-point play with 5:42 left but the Clippers pushed their lead back to 10 on Harrell’s putback dunk to make it 110-100 with 3:39 left.
Harris had 17 for the Clippers and Harden had 17 for the Rockets as Los Angeles led 54-53 at the break.
—Field Level Media