LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul scored 19 points, Blake Griffin added 18 and the Los Angeles Clippers routed the Houston Rockets 125-96 on Monday night to remain tied with Utah in the race for the No. 4 playoff seed.
The Clippers earned their sixth consecutive victory shortly after the Jazz won at Golden State. Both teams are 50-31 with one game remaining before they meet in the playoffs with only home court yet to be decided.
Former Clipper Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 17 points. James Harden shot 2 of 9 for 14 points, well under his 29.3 average. He missed 5 of 6 3-pointers.
Neither team led by more than eight points in the first half before the Clippers broke the game open in the third.
They outscored the Rockets 36-12 to take a 97-69 lead.
Griffin’s two free throws launched a 24-3 run, including 13 in a row highlighted by DeAndre Jordan’s dunk off Paul’s alley-oop pass and J.J. Redick’s steal and 3-pointer. Griffin scored eight in the quarter, while Paul and Redick added seven each as the Clippers shot 52 percent.
Harden picked up his fifth foul and his teammates hoisted two air balls while being limited to three free throws during the Clippers’ dominating spurt. Houston was held to 34 percent shooting in the third.
Harden got his fourth foul with 2.8 seconds left in the first half, not long after Griffin and Jordan each received their third. Jamal Crawford scored the final five points to put the Clippers ahead 61-57 at the break. Crawford finished with 19 points off the bench.
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