Clippers come on strong late to beat Houston Rockets, 110-95

Clippers come on strong late to beat Houston Rockets, 110-95
DeAndre Jordan pressures Houston forward Josh Smith during the second half of the Clippers' 110-95 win over the Rockets at Staples Center. Jordan had a season-high 24 points with 20 rebounds. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

J.J. Redick is available if the All-Star weekend organizers would like to use him beyond his specialty.

The Clippers shooting guard showed Wednesday night at Staples Center he can do far more than make three-pointers during the Clippers' 110-95 victory over the Houston Rockets.


Redick played lockdown defense on James Harden, baffled the Rockets with his constant movement and, yes, made a couple of three-pointers on the way to 20 points in the Clippers' final game before the All-Star break.

Redick's defense on Harden was a big story because a) Redick is not known for defense and b) the Rockets shooting guard scored only nine points on three-for-12 shooting, finishing well below his average of 27 points per game entering Wednesday.

It was just the kind of effort the Clippers (35-19) needed to improve to 2-1 since they learned star forward Blake Griffin would be sidelined for at least three weeks because of a staph infection in his right elbow that required surgical removal.

Seemingly everyone missed three-pointers on a night the Clippers made four of 22 from beyond the arc and the Rockets made nine of 45. But Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford found the touch, banking in a three-pointer as part of his team's 20-9 run to start the fourth quarter and transform a one-point game into an 12-point Clippers lead.

Crawford scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, overtaking Portland's Damian Lillard for the most in the NBA in the final quarter. Crawford has 325 fourth-quarter points to Lillard's 318 after Lillard did not play in the fourth quarter of the Trail Blazers' victory over the Lakers on Wednesday.

The Clippers also got a boost from center DeAndre Jordan — at the free-throw line, of all places — over the game's final 4 minutes 15 seconds. The Rockets kept intentionally fouling Jordan in an attempt to rally and Jordan made a respectable seven of 14 over that span to finish with 24 points and 20 rebounds.

"I think D.J. should be on the All-Star team. It's a travesty," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "What I keep saying about D.J. is you play both sides of the floor and the other side of the floor gets all the credit."

It was Jordan's third 20-20 game in his last six after compiling none previously in his NBA career.

Fans showered Jordan with applause after he made one free throw to end a streak of four consecutive misses. Jordan then got some revenge against the Rockets by swatting a shot by Patrick Beverley and ripping a rebound away from Trevor Ariza.

The Clippers have won six games in a row and 11 of their last 12 against the Rockets, who were missing center Dwight Howard because of swelling in his right knee.

Rivers presented Chris Paul (12 points, 12 assists) and Griffin with their All-Star game jerseys in a pregame ceremony, Griffin standing next to his teammate in a black short-sleeved shirt and gray pants with his arm in a black sling.

Griffin will miss the All-Star game because of his injury. Redick is headed to New York to participate in the three-point contest but could prove useful in the All-Star game with the kind of defense he played on Harden considering none is usually played in the midseason showcase.

Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch