Clippers vs. Rockets final: Rockets run away with 98-81 win without Harden

USA TODAY Sports

Balanced scoring made up for James Harden's absence, as five players scored in double figures for the Rockets in their win over the Clippers.

The Los Angeles Clippers entered the Toyota Center on Saturday night looking to rebound after a last-second loss to the San Antonio Spurs the night before. The Houston Rockets had other ideas as they used a third-quarter run to hand the Clippers their second loss in a row, 98-81.

The Rockets entered the game down James Harden, who sat out with a sore foot, but that didn't seem to slow down their offense, as they scored 28 points and trailed the Clippers by one at the end of the first quarter. The Rockets kept the offense moving in the second quarter, overtaking Los Angeles for a 55-50 halftime lead.

Houston came out of the locker room on fire, starting the half on a 10-4 run to build their lead to double digits. An 8-0 run to close the quarter put Houston up by 22. The Clippers opened up the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run of their own to pull within 14, but they didn't get any closer. Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Francisco Garcia each had 15 points to lead the Rockets. James Anderson started in Harden's place and chipped in seven points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Chris Paul led the Clippers with 19 points, seven assists and three steals.

The loss was the Clippers' third loss to a Texas team in the last week, and it moved them a 1/2 game back of the Memphis Grizzlies for fourth place in the West. With the win, the Rockets moved back within a game of the Golden State Warriors for sixth place in the conference.

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