Rock­ets beat Clips for 4th straight win

The Pak Banker - - International -

LOS AN­GE­LES: 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. Martin's 3-pointer gave the Rock­ets their biggest lead, 65-47, with 9:22 left in the third. The Clip­pers sliced it to 77-70 on Eric Bled­soe's 17-footer af­ter an of­fen­sive foul at the other end by Brad Miller, who was hit with a tech­ni­cal dur­ing the en­su­ing time­out for con­tin­u­ing to ar­gue the call.

Eric Gor­don con­verted the free throw, then added a layup on the Clip­pers' next pos­ses­sion and Grif­fin cut it to 77-76 on a three-point play with 7:05 re­main­ing. -Ap

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