HOUSTON — Losing All-Star power forward Blake Griffin with back spasms had already put the Clippers in a tough predicament, but it got more difficult when Coach Doc Rivers grew so upset at Glen Davis that he had the backup forward escorted from the game.
The Clippers just pressed on, walloping the Houston Rockets yet again, 118-107, Saturday at Toyota Center, to sweep their four-game season series.
Even with Griffin and Davis back in the locker room, the Clippers effort in the face of adversity.
Chris Paul was the leader of the pack, hustling and playing his way to 30 points and 12 assists.
DeAndre Jordan was the leader of the defensive effort, helping out with 20 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots. Jordan, who was six for 14 from the free-throw line, even made five of eight free throws when he was intentionally fouled in the fourth quarter.
Jamal Crawford, playing with a sore and tight left Achilles' tendon, had 22 points off the bench.
But after the Clippers clinched a playoff spot for the third consecutive season, Rivers was forced to address the Davis situation.
"He was emotional tonight and we told him to go sit down," Rivers said. "And I just thought he was a distraction. When guys are a distraction, I don't think they should be on the bench."
After Rivers had pulled Davis early in the second quarter, Davis yelled something at Rivers, who in turned yelled, "Sit your big … down."
A few seconds later, associate head coach Alvin Gentry went to talk to Davis at the end of the bench, but Rivers then told the team's security to take Davis to the locker room.
Rivers obviously still was upset at his power forward, which left the Clippers even more short-handed because Griffin was still in the locker room getting treatment.
"Nothing went on with me," Rivers said. "I thought Baby was too emotional.
"And for me if you're too emotional, I always send you back to the locker room and keep you back there until the next game. I love Baby. I just didn't think emotionally he was ready to play tonight so we told him go to the locker room."
Griffin went down holding his back with 5:49 left in the first quarter and limped to the locker room with Clippers head athletic trainer Jasen Powell, never to return.
Griffin had scored seven points on two-for-three shooting, three-for-three on free throws, before he went down.
Griffin is now one point shy of tying Ken Norman for the seven-best spot on the Clippers all-time scoring list.
"He's day to day," Rivers said about Griffin. "I'm sure they are going to do X-rays. So we'll see."
The Clippers were just happy to beat the Rockets even if Houston's Dwight Howard (left ankle) and Patrick Beverley (torn cartilage in right knee) were out, especially with the problem Rivers had with Davis.
"It's a team" thing, Paul said about talking to Davis about the situation any time soon. "We'll discuss that as a team."
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