By Broderick Turner
11:00 PM PST, February 26, 2014
Another injury took down another Clipper, leaving them short-handed in the backcourt after Jamal Crawford suffered a strained left calf.
The Clippers pressed on, overcoming the injury to pull out a 101-93 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
With Crawford in the locker room in the second half, Darren Collison started in his place.
Collison scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half to spark the victory, but Clippers Coach Doc Rivers admitted after the game that he was concerned about Crawford's injury.
“Nobody was around,” Rivers said. “And when guys get injured when nobody is around, that just always scares me. But we'll know more tomorrow.”
Collison was eight for 14 from the field, three for five from three-point range.
He scored seven consecutive points for the Clippers during one important stretch in the fourth quarter.
His three-pointer gave the Clippers a nine-point lead, and his back-to-back baskets sent them to their third consecutive victory.
“It was great to see D.C. step up for us,” Rivers said about Collison. “I thought his defense was huge too. We put him on [James] Harden and I thought his pressure helped.”
Blake Griffin did his thing again, producing 23 points and 16 rebounds.
DeAndre Jordan more than held his own against Rockets All-Star center Dwight Howard.
Jordan had with 13 points and 10 rebound, and he had a key steal that led to a Matt Barnes dunk in the fourth quarter.
Howard had 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The victory meant the Clippers have a 3-0 lead over the Rockets in the season series that has one game left between the two teams, giving Los Angeles the tiebreaker with Houston if the two finish the regular season with identical records.
Still, the Clippers (40-20) remained the fourth-seeded team in the Western Conference, owning a .667 winning percentage to the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers' .690 winning percentage. Portland is 40-18.
The Rockets (39-19) had entered the game third in the West, but dropped to the fifth seed with a .672 winning percentage.
“Honestly I didn't talk about it at all,” Rivers said about having the tiebreaker over Houston. “I just feel that you've got to win the game. But it's taken care of now.”
Crawford was injured late in the second quarter.
That meant the Clippers didn't have regular starting shooting guard J.J. Redick (bulging disk in lower back) and backup Crawford, who had become the starter.
Crawford had missed eight of his 10 shots and five of his six three-pointers before he departed. He is second on the team in scoring, averaging 19.1 points a game, and that's what the Clippers were concerned about in the second half.
“He said he felt better, so I think he'll be OK,” Rivers said. “I've just been around the league awhile, so that's my concern.”
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