The Clippers pulled off a 117-101 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series at Toyota Center on Monday.
They did it without Chris Paul, who was sidelined because of a strained left hamstring. And they did it against a Rockets team that had six days of rest, while the Clippers were fresh off a Game 7 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday that had 31 lead changes.
The Rockets trailed the Clippers by one-point, 89-88, with 7 minutes and 20 seconds left. The Clippers then went on a 12-0 run to take control of the game, 101-88, with 4 minutes and 24 seconds left after J.J. Redick made a running jumper. The Rockets were scoreless for nearly four-minutes during that stretch.
The Clippers went on to lead by as many as 18 points in the final minute.
Monday's game was far from pretty, with the teams combining for 47 turnovers. The Rockets had 24; the Clippers had 23.
Blake Griffin compiled a triple-double leading the Clippers with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists. He also had five turnovers.
Jamal Crawford had 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and six turnovers. Matt Barnes had 20 points on eight-for-11 shooting, including making three of his six three-point attempts. J.J. Redick, who was scoreless in the first half, finished with 17 points. And Austin Rivers, who started for Paul, had 17 points and made four three-pointers, but he also had three turnovers.
Dwight Howard had 22 points on nine-for-13 shooting, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. James Harden nearly had an unenviable triple-double with 20 points, 12 assists and nine turnovers.
The Rockets led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, but the Clippers dominated the second half, outscoring the Rockets, 71-51. There were eight lead changes and two ties in the game.
After shooting just 2-for-15 in the first half from beyond the arc, the Clippers finished with a better three-point percentage than the Rockets, 41.9% to 33.3%. The Clippers made 11 of their 16 second-half three-point attempts. They also outshot the Rockets from the free-throw line, 73.3% to 58.3%.
Game 2 will be in Houston on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. PDT.
The Rockets went on a 5-0 run behind a three-pointer by Josh Smith and a hook shot by Dwight Howard to cut the Rockets' deficit to one-point, 89-88, with 7 minutes and 20 seconds left. Matt Barnes responded with a three-pointer set up by another Blake Griffin assist -- his 10th of the night.
The teams have traded baskets at the start of the fourth quarter, and the Clippers remain up by six points, 89-83, with just under 9 minutes remaining.
Clippers 83, Rockets 77 (end of third quarter)
The Clippers went on a 14-5 run at the bottom of the third quarter to take a six-point lead, 76-70, after J.J. Redick made a three-pointer with 2 minutes and 49 seconds left.
The Rockets then went on a 5-0 run with a three-pointer by Pablo Prigioni and a driving slam dunk from Corey Brewer to cut their deficit to one-point, 78-77, with 48 seconds left.
Jamal Crawford responded by banking in a three-pointer with 5.7 seconds left to give the Clippers a four-point lead, 81-77. Redick made two free throws with 0.4 seconds left to put the Clippers up by six.
Redick, who was scoreless in the first half, had 12 points in the third quarter.
The Clippers took their first lead of the second half, 66-65, after Redick made a running bank shot with 4 minutes and 37 seconds left.
Five Clippers are in double figures led by Blake Griffin, who has 23 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. Crawford has 14 points. Matt Barnes has 12 points and Austin Rivers has scored 10.
Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza and James Harden each have 15 points for the Rockets.
Entering the fourth quarter, the teams have combined for 42 turnovers. The Rockets have 22; the Clippers have 20.
A running bank shot by J.J. Redick gave the Clippers their first lead, 66-65, since there was 2 minutes and 54 seconds left in the first quarter. The Clippers are on an 11-3 run and lead 73-68 with three and a half minutes to go in the third quarter.
Both the Rockets and the Clippers have 18 turnovers. The Rockets are up, 65-64, with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. The Clippers averaged only 12 turnovers in the regular season.
Austin Rivers made a three-pointer at the top of the third quarter to cut the Clippers' deficit to one-point, 52-51, with 10 minutes and 35 seconds left. Rivers has six points on two-for-six shooting in just under 15 minutes of play.
Rockets 50, Clippers 46 (halftime)
The Rockets went on a 9-0 run at the top of the second quarter to take a 13-point lead, 34-21, with 9 minutes and 42 seconds left.
The Clippers cut the Rockets' lead to three points twice in the final two minutes, and ended the first half down by only four points.
The Rockets and the Clippers each dabbled with using the hack-a strategy at the end of the second quarter. Dwight Howard was sent to the free-throw line four times, and only made two of his shots. DeAndre Jordan missed both of his two free-throw attempts.
The Clippers and the Rockets have combined for 27 first-half turnovers. The Rockets have 14; the Clippers have 13.
The Clippers have made just two of their three-point attempts and are being outshot by the Rockets from beyond the arc, 41.7% to 13.3%.
Blake Griffin leads the Clippers with 16 points on six-for-11 shooting and has six rebounds and three assists. Jamal Crawford has 11 points off the bench. J.J. Redick is scoreless, missing each of his four shots.
Chris Paul is sidelined for Game 1 with a strained left hamstring that he suffered in Game 7 on Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Trevor Ariza has 11 points for the Rockets on four-for-six shooting, including making two of his three three-point attempts. He had his first miss of the game with 6 minutes and 30 seconds left in the second quarter on a three-point attempt.
Dwight Howard, who missed each of the Rockets' four regular season games against the Clippers, has 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Clippers have scored six straight points to narrow the Rockets' lead to 44-39 with just over 2 minutes remaining in the first half. Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford both had baskets and are both in double figures now with 11 points each.
The Clippers cut the Rockets' 13-point lead to eight following a layup by Matt Barnes. The Rockets are up 39-31, with just over 6 minutes left in the second quarter.
Hedo Turkoglu made a stepback jumper at the top of the second quarter, then the Rockets responded by going on another 9-0 run to take a nine-point lead, 34-22, with 9 minutes and 12 seconds left. Clippers Coach Doc Rivers called a timeout to have a word with his team.
Rockets 25, Clippers 19 (end of first quarter)
The Rockets closed the first quarter with a 10-3 run to take a six-point lead, their biggest advantage of the game.
That run included three consecutive layups and a three-pointer by James Harden on the Rockets final possession.
It was a sloppy first quarter -- the Rockets had nine turnovers, the Clippers had four.
Trevor Ariza leads all scorers with 11 points on four-for-four shooting. James Harden has eight points, five assists and four turnovers.
The Clippers are led by Jamal Crawford, who has six points on three-for-six shooting. Both Matt Barnes and Blake Griffin have five points.
The Rockets are outshooting the Clippers from the field, 47.6% to 32%, and from beyond the three-point line where the Clippers have made just one of 10 attempts. Houston was three for five.
Austin Rivers started in place of Chris Paul, who is sidelined with a strained left hamstring he sustained in Game 7 on Saturday. Rivers made a three-pointer at the top of the quarter, but missed his other two field goal attempts. He had three points in six minutes.
The first quarter even saw a rare appearance from Lester Hudson, who checked in with just under four minutes left. He missed both of his field goal attempts.
Trevor Ariza is out to a perfect start for the Rockets, making his first four shots from the field, including a pair of three-pointers. The Rockets lead 22-16 with 1 minute and 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter after a 7-0 run.
At the midway point of the first quarter, both teams are having a hard time taking care of the ball. The Rockets have five turnovers while the Clippers have three. The Clippers are up, 10-9, but both teams are struggling with their shot. The Clippers are 4 for 13 from the field (30.8%) while the Rockets are 4 for 11 (36.4%). Matt Barnes and Austin Rivers have taken eight of the Clippers 13 field goal attempts.
Austin Rivers, who started in place of Chris Paul, made a three-pointer with 10 minutes and 36 left in the first quarter to put the Clippers up, 3-0. Paul is sidelined in Game 1 because of a strained left hamstring.
The Rockets have had six days of rest after beating the Dallas Mavericks in five games. The Clippers, on the other hand, are coming off of a Game 7 against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Saturday that had 31 lead changes and 16 ties.
Clippers' point guard Chris Paul will miss Game 1 after sustaining a strained left hamstring in the Clippers' 111-109 win over the Spurs in Game 7. Paul finished with a team-high 27 points in that game, and made the game-winning shot with one second left.
At shootaround Monday morning, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said what he thinks the Clippers need to pay attention to in order to be successful against the Rockets.
"They're unbelievable at forcing turnovers and they’re unbelievable in transition, that will be the key to the series," Rivers said.