The Clippers beat the Houston Rockets on Sunday in Game 4, 128-95, to take a 3-1 lead in their second-round playoff series. The Clippers have a chance to clinch the best-of-seven series on Tuesday in Houston in Game 5.
The Clippers outscored the Rockets, 43-25, in the third quarter to lead by as many as 28 points. They pushed that advantage to as much as 37 points in the fourth quarter.
To add even more excitement to the game, the Rockets sent the Clippers to the free-throw line a whopping 63 times. The Clippers made 37 of those shots. DeAndre Jordan alone outshot the entire Rockets team from the free-throw line, 34-30. The Clippers' center made 14 of those attempts.
The Rockets led by as many as eight points in the first quarter. It was downhill from there. They were outscored in the second half, 68-41.
Jordan led the Clippers with 26 points on six-for-seven shooting from the field and 17 rebounds. Blake Grififn had 21 points on seven-for-11 shooting, eight rebounds and three assists. J.J. Redick had 18 points, 15 of which he scored in the third quarter. And Chris Paul, who was playing in his second game back after sustaining a left hamstring strain on May 2 in Game 7 of the Clippers' first-round series against the Spurs, had 15 points and 12 assists.
Clippers' reserves Jamal Crawford (13 points) and Austin Rivers (12 points) gave the Clippers a nice boost off the bench. The Clippers' reserves outscored the Rockets' bench players, 41-23.
Dwight Howard fouled out of the game -- and was ejected after tossing the ball at a referee -- with 9 minutes 52 seconds left. He was in foul trouble all game after picking up two fouls in the first four minutes. The Rockets center finished with only seven points on three-for-seven shooting and six rebounds in 18 minutes.
The Rockets were led by James Harden, who had 21 points on five-for-12 shooting, eight rebounds and six assists. Trevor Ariza finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Rockets had 21 turnovers, while the Clippers had 11. The Clippers outshot the Rockets from the field, 49.4% to 41%, and outrebounded the Rockets, 51-47.
The Clippers have pushed their lead to 34 points, 115-81, after Chris Paul made a three-pointer with just under 9 minutes left.
Dwight Howard fouled out of the game with 9 minutes 52 seconds left. He was in foul trouble all game after picking up two fouls in the first four minutes of the first quarter.
The Rockets center finished with only seven points on three-for-seven shooting and six rebounds in 18 minutes.
The Clippers are ahead, 110-81.
Clippers 103, Rockets 79 (end of third quarter)
The Clippers outscored the Rockets, 43-25, in the third quarter, when they led by as many as 28 points.
The Rockets scored consecutive baskets for the first time in the quarter with 3 minutes 25 seconds left after Jason Terry made two three-pointers in a row to cut their deficit to 22 points.
J.J. Redick had 15 of his 18 points and DeAndre Jordan had 14 of his 26 points in the third quarter. Five Clippers have scored in double-figures.
The Clippers have scored 35 points off of free throws. They've shot 59 in the game. The Rockets, meanwhile, are 11 for 23 from the free-throw line.
Dwight Howard picked up his fifth foul after basically tossing Blake Griffin to the ground as he attempted a layup with 3 minutes 7 seconds left. Howard, who has been in foul trouble since early in the first quarter, was immediately taken out of the game. He has only played 17 minutes, scoring just seven points and grabbing only five rebounds.
James Harden leads the Rockets with 21 points on five-for-12 shooting.
The Clippers extended their lead to 19 points, 75-56, their biggest advantage of the game, after outscoring the Rockets, 15-2, in the first four minutes of the third quarter.
The Clippers opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run to take their biggest advantage of the game at 13 points, 67-54, with 10 minutes left.
Rockets Coach Kevin McHale has called a timeout to chat with his team.
Clippers 60, Rockets 54 (halftime)
The Clippers went on an 11-0 run to take their biggest advantage of the game at nine points, 58-49, with 45.5 seconds left in the seond quarter after Blake Griffin made a layup. The Rockets went on to cut their deficit to six points heading into the third quarter.
So far this game looks like a practice. For DeAndre Jordan. At the free-throw line.
The Clippers' center shot a whopping 28 free throws in the first half, making only 10 of them. He shot more free throws than the entire Rockets team. The Clippers are on pace to shoot 88 free throws this game, after shooting 44 in the first half. They've made 54.4% of those shots.
The Rockets are a woeful three for 13 from the free-throw line.
After trailing by as many as seven points at the top of the second quarter, the Clippers went on an 8-0 run to take a one-point lead, 38-37, with 9 minutes and 27 seconds left. During that stretch, Austin Rivers had five consecutive points off a three-pointer and a layup in 14 seconds. Jamal Crawford then made a three-pointer.
Jordan has 12 points and nine rebounds. Blake Griffin has 12 points on five-for-six shooting and five rebounds. Crawford has eight points and Rivers seven.
The Clippers' bench is outscoring the Rockets' reserves, 20-7.
The Rockets are led by Trevor Ariza, who has 15 points and seven rebounds. James Harden has 10 points on three-for-seven shooting, and was held scorless in the second quarter.
Dwight Howard picked up his third personal foul with 8 minutes 19 seconds left in the second quarter. He was immediately taken out of the game. Howard picked up two fouls in the first four minutes of the game. He has only played seven minutes, scoring four points on two-for-two shooting and grabbing three rebounds.
The Clippers are outshooting the Rockets from the field, 48.5% to 46.8%. The Rockets are outshooting the Clippers from beyond the three-point line, 41.2% to 33.3%. The Rockets have nine turnovers; the Clippers have six.
Dwight Howard picked up his third personal foul with 8 minutes 19 seconds left in the second quarter. He was immediately taken out of the game.
Howard picked up two fouls in the first four minutes of the game. He has only played seven minutes, scoring four points on two-for-two shooting and grabbing three rebounds.
After trailing by as many as seven points early in the second quarter, the Clippers went on an 8-0 run to take a one-point lead, 38-37, with 9 minutes 27 seconds left.
During that stretch, Austin Rivers had five consecutive points with a three-pointer and a layup in 14 seconds. Jamal Crawford then made a three-pointer.
Rockets 33, Clippers 30 (end of first quarter)
It was a slo-w-w-w-w first quarter. DeAndre Jordan was sent to the free-throw line 14 times. He made seven of those shots. Jordan shot more than twice as many free throws as the entire Rockets, who shot six.
Trevor Ariza made two consecutive three-pointers with 3 minutes 35 seconds left to give the Rockets their biggest lead of the game at eight points, 25-17.
Spencer Hawes made a pair of free throws and a three-pointer to cut the Clippers deficit to two, 27-25, with just more than two minutes left. With 13.1 seconds left, Jamal Crawford made a floating jumper to tie the score at 30-30. James Harden responded with a three-pointer with 5.5 seconds left to give the Rockets a three-point lead heading into the second quarter.
Harden didn't attempt a shot from the field for the first seven minutes of the game. His first shot? A three-pointer, which swished through the net. He has 10 points on three-for-three shooting. Ariza also has 10 points on four-for-seven shooting.
Dwight Howard picked up two fouls in four minutes and headed to the bench.
Jordan leads the Clippers with nine points and three rebounds. Hawes and Chris Paul each have five points.
The Clippers have four turnovers. The Rockets have three.
The Clippers are ahead, 12-11, with 5 minutes 37 seconds left in the first quarter.
Each of the Clippers' starters have scored.
Dwight Howard picked up his second foul with 8 minutes 20 seconds left in the first quarter.
He was also assessed a technical foul after arguing the call. Howard has been taken out of the game.
The Rockets have opened the game making each of their four shots from the field.
They have an 8-4 lead over the Clippers with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Clippers have made two of their four shots.
Paul sustained a left hamstring strain on May 2, and missed the team's first two games of the second round. In Paul's series debut in Game 3 on Friday, he finished with 12 points on five-for-12 shooting, seven assists and one turnover in the Clippers' 124-99 win.
"I know he feels better than he did two days ago, so that should help," Rivers said this afternoon. "I'm not sure if we're going to increase his minutes or not yet. [Clippers' trainer Jasen Powell] and I just talked about it and we really didn't come to a solution or a conclusion on it."
The Clippers were able to rest Paul extra minutes in Game 3 because reserve guard Austin Rivers had a great game. Rivers had 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting off the bench for the Clippers, including 15 points in the third quarter on six-for-eight shooting, sparking a 20-3 run that turned a five-point lead into a 23-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
In Game 3, the Clippers outshot the Rockets from the field, 55.4% to 39.8%, and from beyond the three-point line, 44.8% to 33.3%. The Rockets made only 18 of 31 free throws (58.1%) while the Clippers made 19 of their 23 attempts from the line (82.6%). The Clippers also out-ebounded the Rockets, 50-43.
Rockets Coach Kevin McHale said heading into Game 4 that his team had many areas that needed improvement.
"First off, we have to be better on transition defense," McHale said. "[The Clippers] got out early and were running on us. We have to do better in transition to get in front of guys because last game, they did a great job of pushing with Rivers. We also have to do a better job on the offensive end, especially moving the ball. We were a bit stagnant last game. There are a lot of areas we need to be better in on offense."