The Clippers became only the ninth team with a 3-1 lead to lose a best-of-seven series. Doc Rivers becomes the first coach in NBA history to have two teams fail to close out a playoff series with a 3-1 lead.
The Rockets will advance to play the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals, which begin Tuesday in Oakland.
Clippers' meltdown is complete in Game 7 loss to Rockets
The Clippers' season came to an end Sunday afternoon with a 113-100 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series at Toyota Center in Houston.
Instead of making the Western Conference finals for the first time in their 45-year existence, the Clippers made the record books for a much less desirable reason. The Rockets became only the ninth team in NBA history to recover from a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the next round.
The Rockets will play the Golden State Warriors in the conference finals, which begins Tuesday in Oakland.
The Clippers trailed by as many as 15 points in the second quarter before cutting their deficit to three points, 60-57, at the top of the third quarter. The Rockets then went on a 25-11 run to take a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Rockets went on to push their advantage to as many as 20 points in the final 12 minutes.
Late in the fourth, the Clippers went on a 9-0 run to cut their deficit to eight points, 102-94, with 2 minutes and 6 seconds left after Blake Griffin made a slam dunk -- but it was too little, too late. In the final minute, the Rockets outscored the Clippers, 9-4, to win by 13 points.
The Rockets, who never trailed in Game 7, outshot the Clippers from beyond the three-point line, 40% to 25%. The Rockets attempted 41 free throws, more than twice as many as the Clippers shot (17). The Rockets scored 31 points off of free throws, while the Clippers only scored 11.
Blake Griffin had 27 points on 13-for-23 shooting, 11 rebounds and six assists. Chris Paul had 26 points, 10 assists, four steals and four turnovers. Jamal Crawford had 17 points off the bench, while DeAndre Jordan finished with 16 points and 17 rebounds.
James Harden led the Rockets with 31 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Trevor Ariza had 22 points, including six three-pointers. Dwight Howard finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
If it's any small consolation, there's a silver lining for a different L.A. team:
'Never saw this coming'
It's all but over
The Rockets are about to become only the ninth team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the playoffs. They have a 113-100 lead with less than 15 seconds left to play.
In a last-gasp chance to win Game 7 of their second-round playoff series, the Clippers are resorting to fouling Dwight Howard.
DeAndre Jordan dunked, and was fouled, with 1:26 left to cut the Clippers' deficit to 104-96. Jordan missed the free throw and Chris Paul fouled Howard on the rebound. It worked, as Howard missed both free throws.
J.J. Redick missed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, though, and the Rockets answered with a three-pointer by Trevor Ariza for a 107-96 lead with 55.8 seconds left.
The only problem is that the Clippers can't foul Howard unless he touches the ball. A purposeful foul away from the ball will result in free throws and Houston retaining possession of the ball.
Emotional roller coaster
But a few seconds later:
'Rockets falling apart late'
Hold on, the Clippers are on a run
All is not lost, yet. The Clippers have gone on a 9-1 run to closer their deficit to 102-92 with 2:24 left when J.J. Redick hit a running jumper on the baseline after a Rockets turnover.
DeAndre Jordan dunked off a feed from Chris Paul to start the run, while Blake Griffin made one of two free throws and a layup on back-to-back possessions.
The Rockets were deducted a point upon review of Corey Brewer's long jumper moments earlier.
Make that down by 10
2:24 left; Clippers down by 11
Or you could see it this way:
Rockets forward Corey Brewer made a three-pointer with 5 minutes and 3 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Houston a 102-83 lead.
According to Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler, first team to 100 points wins. It's the law.
This kind of thing isn't helping Clippers
Rockets fans roaring
Scott Halleran / Getty Images
With less than 6 minutes left
Clippers comeback looking hopeless
The Clippers trail the Rockets by 18 points, 94-76, with 7 minutes and 16 seconds left. The Rockets are on their way to becoming only the ninth team in NBA history to recover from a 3-1 deficit to advance to the next round.
Howard out; intentional fouls have downside
Despite big lead, Rockets fans nervous
This just in from Boston
Not looking good for Clippers
Does that count as multitasking?
Rockets in control to start fourth quarter
Dwight Howard opened the fourth quarter with a three-point play to give the Rockets their biggest lead of the game at 20 points, 88-68.
The Rockets closed the third quarter with an 11-2 run to take their biggest lead to that point at 85-68 when James Harden made a step-back jumper with 0.1 seconds left.
The Clippers, who have never led, cut their deficit to three points, 60-57, after J.J. Redick made a layup with 8 minutes and 32 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Rockets went on a 10-2 run to regain an nine-point lead, 70-61, after Pablo Prigioni made a three-pointer with 5 minutes and 26 seconds left in the third quarter.
Harden leads all scorers with 22 points, five rebounds and six assists. Josh Smith has 15 points, Trevor Ariza 14 points and Dwight Howard 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Chris Paul leads the Clippers with 17 points, but he only has three assists. Blake Griffin has 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Jamal Crawford has 15 points.
Side note: A different kind of contest
Time for one last huddle
Clippers down by double digits again
Clippers aren't looking great
Gap widens to 16 points
Clippers down by 16 points now, 82-66.
Clippers need to make a push
Some stats for you:
Attacking the basket
Larry W. Smith / EPA
Rockets maintaining their lead
The Rockets went on a 10-2 run to turn their three-point lead into an 11-point advantage, 70-61, after Pablo Prigioni made a three-pointer with 5 minutes and 26 seconds left in the third quarter.
And another turnover
Meanwhile, the score: Clippers are down 72-63.
3-pointer by Josh Smith
Rockets have an answer
The Rockets turned their three-point lead into an eight-point advantage, 65-57, after scoring five quick points behind a dunk from James Harden and a three-pointer from Josh Smith with just under 8 minutes left in the third quarter.
Slam dunk by Harden
Scott Halleran / Getty Images
Clippers making a comeback
The Clippers went on a 9-1 run to cut their deficit to three points, 60-57, after J.J. Redick made a fastbreak layup with 8 minutes and 32 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Clippers trailed by as many as 15 points in the second quarter.
Clippers turn up the pressure
Jordan and Harden are dinged
Chris Paul made a pull-up jumper with 10 minutes and 19 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the Clippers' deficit to six points, 59-53.
Paul leads the Clippers with 15 points on six-for-11 shooting.
Need some lift
Here we go
Throw it down, big man
David J. Phillip / Associated Press
Halftime show? What halftime show?
It's not over until . . .
Clippers trail by 10 points at halftime
Rockets 56, Clippers 46
The Clippers cut their 15-point deficit in the second quarter to six points, 52-46, after Chris Paul made two free throws with 1 minute and 29 seconds left.
Jason Terry then made two free throws and Dwight Howard added a slam dunk to put the Rockets up by 10 points, 56-46, at halftime.
The Rockets are outshooting the Clippers from the field, 47.7% to 38%, and from beyond the three-point line, 35.3% to 28.6%. Both teams have nine turnovers. The Clippers have a slight edge on the boards over the Rockets, 26-24.
James Harden has 12 points and five assists. Howard has 12 points on five-for-five shooting and 11 rebounds -- but he also has two fouls. Jason Smith has nine points.
Blake Griffin leads the Clippers with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Chris Paul has 10 points, but only one assist. Jamal Crawford has 10 points off the bench, eight of which he scored in the second quarter.
The Rockets opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run to take their biggest advantage of the game at 15 points, 36-21, with 10 minutes left in the first half.
At halftime, Clippers trail by 10
There's always hope . . .
Scott Halleran / Getty Images
Paul shows up with an assist
Clippers cut deficit
The Clippers have cut their 15-point deficit to single digits, 48-40, after DeAndre Jordan made a slam dunk with 4 minutes left.
Finish half with a flurry?
Narrowing the gap
DeAndre Jordan highlight
Rockets firing well from long range
The Rockets are killing the Clippers from beyond the three-point line, making six of their 11 attempts (54.5%) while the Clippers are three for 12 (25%) from that distance.
The Rockets are ahead, 46-33, with just under six minutes left in the second quarter.
Where's the energy?
Crawford picking up steam
Crawford helps Clippers rally
Jamal Crawford has scored eight points so far in the second quarter, including two three-pointers, to help cut the Rockets' 15-point lead to 10, 43-33, with 8 minutes left.
Rockets looking strong
Rockets take biggest lead of game
The Rockets opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run to take their biggest advantage of the game at 15 points, 36-21, with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.
Live by the three-pointer. . . .
Nothing good to speak of
Harden on bench; Rivers has 3rd foul
Rockets lead after first quarter
Rockets 28, Clippers 21
Terrence Jones was fouled on a made layup with 16.7 seconds left in the first quarter to put the Rockets up by nine points, 28-19, tying their biggest advantage of the game.
With 0.4 seconds left, Jamal Crawford made a running jumper to cut the Clippers' deficit to seven points.
The Rockets are outshooting the Clippers from the field, 58.8% to 40%, and from beyond the three-point line, 42.9% to 14.3%.
James Harden leads all scorers with 12 points on four-for-six shooting. Jones has six points on three-for-four shooting.
Blake Griffin leads the Clippers with six points on three-for-five shooting, three rebounds and two assists.
Room for improvement
Not so innocent
End of first quarter
'It's Game 7!'
The turnovers keep on coming
And exacerbating that ...
Rockets maintain their lead
The Clippers cut their seven-point deficit to one point, 14-13, after going on a 6-0 run with 5 minutes left. The Rockets then went on an 8-2 run to take an eight-point lead, 22-13, with 3 minutes left.
Dwight Howard picked up his second personal foul with 3 minutes and 32 seconds left in the first quarter.
Sign of the times
Rockets smell the kill?
Ugly start for Clippers
Clippers trailing, 14-7
Blake Griffin made a layup with 8 minutes and 10 seconds left to tie the scoree, 7-7. The Rockets are outshooting the Clippers from the field, 50% to 37.5%, and outrebounding the Clippers, 4-3.
The Rockets went on a 7-0 run to take a 14-7 lead with 7 minutes left in the first quarter. James Harden scored each of those points with two free throws, a three-pointer and a layup.
Rockets take early lead
The Rockets have taken a 7-3 lead with 10 minutes and 18 seconds left in the first quarter. The Clippers' only basket came off a three-pointer by J.J. Redick.
Trevor Ariza made a three-pointer for the Rockets while Josh Smith had a dunk and a layup.