Houston: Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 30 points as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Houston Rockets 117-109, despite playing their second consecutive game without star guard Chris Paul.
Paul sat out with a bruised kneecap, but it didn’t matter as Eric Bledsoe filled in nicely, registering a season-high 19 points along with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals on Tuesday.
Blake Griffin finished with 19 points and eight assists for the Clippers, who once again received plenty of support from their bench players.
Crawford sank 11-of-20 from the field and Matt Barnes scored 18 to help Los Angeles become the National Basketball Association’s second 30-win team.
James Harden scored 23 points and Jeremy Lin added 12 points and 10 assists for Houston, whose poor shooting in the third quarter contributed to their fourth straight loss.
Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino had 17 and 16 points respectively in the loss.
The Rockets led by one at half-time, but the Clippers seized control in the third quarter.
They quickly grabbed an 11-point lead at 76-65 after opening the third on a an 18-6 run. The surge featured a three-point play from Griffin, a triple by Bledsoe and a pair of three-pointers by Willie Green.
The Rockets shot just 38.9 per cent to the Clippers’ 60 per cent in the quarter. Houston closed the gap to 13 points by the end of the third, but Crawford put the game away for Los Angeles with his superb shooting to start the fourth.
He scored the Clippers’ first 12 points of the fourth, nailing five shots in a row to build their lead back up to 19 points with just over nine minutes left.