Blake Griffin and his beard led the way for the Clippers with 30 points and 10 rebounds tonight, securing the Clippers fifth win of the road trip and third in a row.
Griffin started hot, scoring 12 points in the first quarter, and he and the Clippers never looked back en route to a much-needed road win against a Western Conference playoff contender.
Matt Barnes returned to the lineup after missing two games with a strained calf, but only scored two points and got himself a technical foul before all was said and done. His presence was felt defensively, holding James Harden to 16 points on 5-12 shooting. Not surprisingly, Jamal Crawford led the Clippers off the bench with 21 (including a patented Crawford 4-point play), and J.J. Redick chipped in 15.
It was the Clippers defense that secured the win tonight, holding the Rockets to 39% shooting and digging their feet in on D when the ball wasn't falling on the offensive end. Chris Paul had five of the team's eight steals, along with 10 points and seven assists, and plenty of energy to go around. This was the kind of win we've been looking for from the Clippers, where energy and efficiency combined to form the almighty W.
The already shorthanded Rockets were dealt another blow when point guard Isaiah Canaan went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter. Houston was already playing without starting point guard Patrick Beverly, Terrence Jones and Dwight Howard. Despite the Rockets' injuries, they had won three games in a row coming into tonight, but the Clippers put together a complete game, and that was the end of that.
The Clippers have never won six games on a single road trip before, and have a chance to do just that Saturday against the Utah Jazz.