LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin Martin scored 28 points, including four free throws in the final 16 seconds, and the Houston Rockets nearly blew an 18-point lead in the second half to the stubborn Los Angeles Clippers before beating them 97-92 for their fourth straight victory.
Luis Scola added 22 points and Shane Battier had 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Rockets, who never trailed and recorded their third wire-to-wire victory — one more than they had all of last season.
Houston has won 14 of 24 games after an 0-5 start and can reach the .500 mark for the first time this season with a victory against Washington when the team resumes play Monday at home.
Blake Griffin, heading full-speed toward his second straight rookie of the month award, led Los Angeles with 24 points and tied a career high with 18 rebounds — his 17th straight double-double and 23rd overall.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)