Rockets beat Clips for 4th straight win
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