Final: Well, that does it for me, guys. Good night, everyone. I am Vahan Shakhpazyan signing off!
Final: This was a gutsy win by the Clippers without their superstar point guard. Should Doc Rivers rest him in Game 2 since they stole one on the road already?
Final: Bench play was nearly even, with the Rockets bench scoring 28 and the Clippers scoring 27.
Final: As I talked about earlier in the preview, foul shooting would be key, and it certainly was tonight. Rockets made 58.3 percent of their free throws, while the Clippers hit 73.3 percent of their fouls.
Final: James Harden had a quiet game. He went to the line six times and ended with 20 points and 12 assists. He did not make a big impact on this game.
Final: Jordan made huge defensive plays in this one, recording four blocks. He also added 13 rebounds.
Final: Griffin finishes with 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists. He is without question playing the best basketball of his career and that's why the Clippers are rolling.
Final: That does it for this one! What a win by the Clippers without Chris Paul!
4th Quarter (:00): Clippers 117 Rockets 101.
4th Quarter (:30): Redick hits a three, and this is all Clippers.
4th Quarter (:46): It is dead quiet in the Toyota Center.
4th Quarter (1:16): Rivers puts the explamation point on the game with a corner three.
4th Quarter (1:41): Redick to a wide open Barnes for an easy lay in. No defense.
4th Quarter (2:02): Crawford drills in both free throws.
4th Quarter (2:02): Ariza is called for a blocking foul. Crawford will head to the line.
4th Quarter (2:13): Terry knocks down a corner three!
4th Quarter (2:29): Griffin has his third triple-double of the playoffs with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
4th Quarter (2:29): Griffin gets both.
4th Quarter (2:29): Griffin is fouled by Howard on the other end.
4th Quarter (2:37): Howard hits 1 of 2.
4th Quarter (2:37): Howard is fouled again after a Barnes turnover.
4th Quarter (2:50): Howard misses both!
4th Quarter (2:50): Now the Clippers foul Howard.
4th Quarter (2:53): Jordan responds by hitting both.
4th Quarter (2:53): Jordan was inserted back into the game after the timeout and the Rockets fouled him before the ball was inbounded so it is automatic two free throws for Jordan.
4th Quarter (2:53): Clipppers 101 Rockets 93.
4th Quarter (3:02): Here comes the Hack-A-Jordan, but the Rockets had a foul to give so Doc Rivers takes Jordan out.
4th Quarter (3:04): Harden puts in 2 of 3.
4th Quarter (3:04): Now Harden draws a foul on Barnes behind the arc. He will go to the line for three free throws.
4th Quarter (3:34): Harden drills a straight away three! That's his first field goal since over 9 minutes in the third.
4th Quarter (4:18): The Clippers actually had a foul to give.
4th Quarter (4:18): The Clippers are fouling Howard intentionally now.
4th Quarter (4:24): Redick puts in a wild floater!
4th Quarter (4:47): It is quiet in the Toyota Center. The fans are absolutely shocked!
4th Quarter (5:20): Clippers 99 Rockets 88.
4th Quarter (5:20): Jamal Crawford knocks down a three!!!! Chris Paul is loving it. What a masterful performance by the Clippers, 10-0 run!
4th Quarter (5:40): Incredible ball movement by the Clippers and now Barnes gets a three!!
4th Quarter (6:14): Clippers 93 Rockets 88.
4th Quarter (6:14): Griffin gets 1 of 2.
4th Quarter (6:14): Griffin is fouled.
4th Quarter (7:01): Matt Barnes hits a big time triple!!
4th Quarter (7:20): Howard gets deep position down low and puts in an easy two.
4th Quarter (8:30): Smith swishes in a three!
4th Quarter (8:44): Clippers 89 Rockets 83.
4th Quarter (8:56): Jordan finds a cutting Rivers who flies in for two!
4th Quarter (9:46): Then he rejects Crawford's shot in the lane!
4th Quarter (10:05): Howard powers his way to the rim and puts in a baby hook.
4th Quarter (10:42): Brewer answers back within seconds.
4th Quarter (10:46): Crawford finds Davis for an easy lay in.
4th Quarter (11:04): Howard spins off Big Baby for a bank shot.
4th Quarter (11:19): Crawford puts in another!
3rd Quarter (:00): Easy transition points is exactly what the Clippers want and need.
3rd Quarter (:00): Rockets are giving the Clippers easy transition points thanks to their turnovers. They cannot do that against the team that is missing their superstar point guard.
3rd Quarter (:00): Way too many turnovers for the Rockets. They have 22, which has resulted into 29 Clipper points on the other end.
3rd Quarter (:00): Clippers outscore the Rockets, 37-27, in the third.
3rd Quarter (:00): Clippers 83 Rockets 77.
3rd Quarter (:01): Redick gets both.
3rd Quarter (:01): Harden is called for a loose ball foul! Redick to the line for two. Not a good foul at all after Brewer missed his shot.
3rd Quarter (:05): Crawford banks in a long, high arcing three!!
3rd Quarter (:46): Brewer explodes to the lane for a enormous two-handed dunk!
3rd Quarter (1:02): Clippers now have 19 turnovers. Rockets at 22.
3rd Quarter (1:34): Prigioni hits his third triple of the game!
3rd Quarter (1:51): Redick banks it home for two!
3rd Quarter (2:39): Harden hits two free throws out of the timeout.
3rd Quarter (2:39): Redick coming alive in this second half, as he has scored eight points in the third.
3rd Quarter (2:39): Clippers 76 Rockets 70.
3rd Quarter (2:50): Redick drains a three!
3rd Quarter (3:06): Terry uses a fake and steps in for a long two!
3rd Quarter (3:29): Griffin completes the three-point play.
3rd Quarter (3:29): Another turnover by Houston, as the Clippers go 4 on 1 to get a Blake Griffin two plus a foul on Harden!
3rd Quarter (3:41): Jordan puts in 1 of 2.
3rd Quarter (3:41): Jordan is fouled intentionally.
3rd Quarter (3:45): 20 turnovers by the Rockets.
3rd Quarter (3:57): Good ball rotation by the Clippers which gives Rivers a wide open look at a three and he drills it!
3rd Quarter (4:20): Terry answers back with a three!
3rd Quarter (4:37): Redick with a high arching runner and the Clippers take the lead!
3rd Quarter (5:01): Jordan gets both!
3rd Quarter (5:01): Jordan is fouled again. Howard picks up his second.
3rd Quarter (5:20): Smith connects with Howard for an alley-oop dunk play. They had plenty of those during the first round.
3rd Quarter (5:33): Griffin makes a tough running hook over Smith.
3rd Quarter (5:45): Ariza responds with a long two. He's had a swell game.
3rd Quarter (6:00): Barnes drills a three!
3rd Quarter (6:21): Ariza steals the ball and goes all the way for a soft dunk.
3rd Quarter (6:37): Blake Griffin is literally doing everything for the Clippers tonight, with 18 points, six assists, and six rebounds.
3rd Quarter (6:37): Clippers 57 Rockets 59.
3rd Quarter (7:16): Jones takes it at Jordan for a lay in.
3rd Quarter (7:32): Griffin ties it up at 57 with a long two!
3rd Quarter (8:21): Finally, J.J. Redick hits a shot. His first three of the game.
3rd Quarter (8:42): Rivers hits 1 of 2.
3rd Quarter (8:42): Rivers is fouled and he will go to the line for two.
3rd Quarter (9:23): Great defense by Terry to force a Clippers turnover.
3rd Quarter (9:43): Harden drains a trey!
3rd Quarter (9:51): Jordan misses both.
3rd Quarter (9:51): Jordan is fouled and heads to the line.
3rd Quarter (9:58): Harden gets the steal and goes all the way for a layup.
3rd Quarter (10:35): Rivers knocks down a three!
3rd Quarter (11:20): Barnes responds with a long, corner two.
3rd Quarter (11:40): Harden to Howard for a dunk!
Halftime: Ariza and Howard have 11 apiece to lead the Rockets.
Halftime: Harden has gone to the line one time, which is quite surprising.
Halftime: James Harden has been quiet, but he has put up eight points and six assists.
Halftime: Both Howard and Jordan have been protecting the rim for their respective teams. Each have three blocks.
Halftime: Griffin has handled the pressure of carrying the team as he has put in 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Halftime: Clippers need to get Redick going. He has zero points on 0 for 3 shooting. Perhaps not having Paul is effecting him but has gotten a couple clean looks.
Halftime: Crawford has six of the 13 Clippers turnovers. He has been scoring but is giving the ball up.
Halftime: Turnovers have been a problem for both teams as they have combined for 27, 13 for the Clippers and 14 for the Rockets.
Halftime: That does it for the first half. Clippers remain within striking distance.
2nd Quarter (:00): Clippers 46 Rockets 50.
2nd Quarter (:04): Griffin hits both!
2nd Quarter (:04): Brewer fouls Griffin, sending him to the line.
2nd Quarter (:15): Howard goes 1 of 2.
2nd Quarter (:15): Howard is now fouled intentionally. Clippers looking to get the final shot of the period.
2nd Quarter (:47): Howard misses with the left hand, tips it back in with the right.
2nd Quarter (:59): Davis drains a corner two.
2nd Quarter (1:18): Howard makes 1 of 2.
2nd Quarter (1:18): Howard is fouled, not intentionally. It is a loose ball foul.
2nd Quarter (1:32): Jordan misses both.
2nd Quarter (1:32): Hahah! And now the Rockets go to the Hack-A-Jordan.
2nd Quarter (1:34): Smith gets 1 of 2.
2nd Quarter (1:34): Clippers are going with the Hack-A-Smith.
2nd Quarter (1:39): Griffin puts in the free throw to complete the three-point play.
2nd Quarter (1:39): Griffin bangs down low and draws the foul on Smith and a foul!
2nd Quarter (2:07): Josh Smith is fouled and he gets 1 of 2 but the Rockets keep it alive.
2nd Quarter (2:07): Redick is 0 for 3 with zero points. Crawford, who has scored 11, has six turnovers.
2nd Quarter (2:21): Brewer misses both free throws.
2nd Quarter (2:21): Brewer is fouled in transition by Griffin.
2nd Quarter (2:31): A lot of turnovers both ends, but mostly from the Rockets.
2nd Quarter (2:54): Jordan powers down a two-handed dunk deep in the paint.
2nd Quarter (3:36): Clippers 37 Rockets 44.
2nd Quarter (4:34): Griffin gets a lob pass down low for an easy two!
2nd Quarter (5:03): Crawford hits another!
2nd Quarter (5:18): Howard completes the three-point play.
2nd Quarter (5:18): Clippers 33 Rockets 43.
2nd Quarter (5:18): Then Howard answers with a thunderous two-handed dunk and a foul!
2nd Quarter (5:29): Griffin with the behind-the-back fake and a scoop layup!
2nd Quarter (5:49): Jones slips a pass into Howard for an easy two.
2nd Quarter (6:07): Griffin finds the cutting Barnes for a layup.
2nd Quarter (6:14): Howard responds to Jordan's blocks with an emphatic one of his own on DJ.
2nd Quarter (6:39): Griffin takes it all the way to the rim with a one-handed stuff in transition!
2nd Quarter (7:06): Jones hits both.
2nd Quarter (7:06): Terrence Jones is fouled by Crawford and will get two free throws.
2nd Quarter (7:21): Crawford, with two defenders draped over him, puts in a three!
2nd Quarter (7:33): Jordan is locked in defensively, getting his third block.
2nd Quarter (8:19): Prigioni knocks in another!
2nd Quarter (8:47): Jordan swishes the free throw.
2nd Quarter (8:47): Jordan flips up a two deep in the paint and a foul on Howard.
2nd Quarter (9:41): Nice ball movement by Houston which leads to a wide open three for Prigioni. Rockets have hit 8 of their last 9 shots.
2nd Quarter (10:13): Turkoglu's three has been changed to a two, as his foot was on the line.
2nd Quarter (10:13): Clippers 22 Rockets 31.
2nd Quarter (10:13): Another Rockets steal and an alley-oop to Dwight Howard for a monstrous two-handed dunk!!! Ariza on the assist.
2nd Quarter (10:40): Brewer gets out in the fast break after a Howard steal.
2nd Quarter (11:05): Nice spin move by Smith as he takes it in for two.
2nd Quarter (11:41): Hedo Turkoglu buries a triple to start the second quarter.
1st Quarter (:00): "We were alright [without Paul]" -Doc Rivers.
1st Quarter (:00): Clippers were looking to push the ball in that first quarter. Without their floor general, they are trying to find early offense because ultimately, that is going to be the best way for them to get easy points.
1st Quarter (:00): The Rockets had NINE turnovers in that quarter!
1st Quarter (:00): Not a bad start for the Clippers who are still within striking distance.
1st Quarter (:00): Clippers 19 Rockets 25.
1st Quarter (:04): Harden knocks down a step back three to close out the quarter!
1st Quarter (:27): Griffin was fouled. He knocked down 1 of 2 free throws.
1st Quarter (1:14): Crawford drills a long two.
1st Quarter (1:31): Harden completes the three-point play.
1st Quarter (1:31): Harden takes it coast to coast for the hoop and harm!
1st Quarter (1:54): Josh Smith takes it at Glen Davis and finishes at the rim.
1st Quarter (2:19): Sweet feed by Harden to Capela for an easy two.
1st Quarter (2:42): Clippers 16 Rockets 15.
1st Quarter (2:56): Crawford misses but follows his own miss and rattles in a two-point basket.
1st Quarter (3:35): Clippers looking to push every opportunity they get.
1st Quarter (3:54): Lester Hudson is in.
1st Quarter (4:29): Crawford hits a runner, but Ariza answers back quickly with another three.
1st Quarter (5:30): Ariza comes out of the timeout and buries a three!
1st Quarter (5:50): Clippers 10 Rockets 9.
1st Quarter (6:26): Five Houston turnovers.
1st Quarter (6:41): Griffin spins in the lane and flips up a two-point shot.
1st Quarter (7:26): Matt Barnes is leaking out in transition to get quick offense kind of like Corey Brewer does for the Rockets.
1st Quarter (8:07): James Harden puts in his first basket, taking it all the way to the hole.
1st Quarter (8:39): Barnes flies to the lane in transition for a layup and a foul!
1st Quarter (9:08): Ariza completes the three-point play.
1st Quarter (9:08): Harden to Ariza to the basket for a bucket and a foul!
1st Quarter (9:33): Howard misses an easy two, but Ariza is there to tip it back home.
1st Quarter (10:24): Terry gets to the lane for a layup. He blew by Rivers. That cannot happen.
1st Quarter (10:37): Rivers hits an early three. Good sign for the Clippers.
1st Quarter (10:43): Good defensive start by both teams.
1st Quarter (12:00): We are underway!
Lester Hudson should see extended minutes as well.
Austin Rivers will indeed start in this game.
We are getting closer to tipoff.
A lot of pressure on Blake Griffin tonight to carry his team. Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick will also need to put up strong performances for the Clippers to have a chance.
Austin Rivers is likely to get the start in Paul's place.
Will the Clippers be able to beat the Rockets without Paul? Probably not. This is bad news for the Clippers who are trying to steal one on the road, which will ultimately get them off to a slow start as the team without home court advantage.
Chris Paul will not play tonight.
"You have to be careful," Rivers said. "If there's any risk, he won't play, I can tell you that right now. I just don't know yet."
"He's alive," Doc Rivers said when asked about Paul's status. "He's going to go through shootaround, and we'll figure it out afterwards."
Chris Paul is still a game-time decision.
Both these teams love firing the three-ball and running out in transition. It will be an exciting, up-and-down game, with many fast break points.
The Clippers are certainly battle tested after going seven games in the first round, winning two huge ones on the road with their backs against the wall. This is the best Clippers team I have ever seen, as they look sharp and focused. The aggressiveness must remain the same if they are looking to win more road games.
Here are the highlights from the fourth meeting between Clippers - Rockets live, played March 15, 2015:
Chris Paul has had sensational games as well, including Game 7 against San Antonio when he carried the team despite suffering a hamstring injury early in that game. He is considered a game-time decision coming into this game. The Clippers sorely need him if they are looking to steal one in Houston. Nonetheless, just like Harden, Paul has struggled with his shot against the Rockets, hitting just 36.7 percent of his shots. But, Patrick Beverley had a lot to do with that, and he is not available to play due to an elbow injury. Will Harden take the challenge of defending Paul throughout this series?
Blake Griffin's play throughout the first round was absolutely monstrous. The 26-year old is playing what I believe the best basketball of his career, averaging 24.1 points, 13.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.4 steals on 46.7 percent shooting in seven playoff games. He seems hungry and determined, as he has been ultra-aggressive, attacking the basket every chance he gets. His mid-range face up jumper hasn't been too bad either.
The Clippers, meanwhile, are coming off arguably one of the best first-round series' in NBA history against the defending champions San Antonio Spurs. They played in a grueling seven-game series and barely came out on top thanks to a Chris Paul game-winning bank shot in Game 7.
The Rockets had a significantly easy first round, getting past the Dallas Mavericks in five games. Josh Smith stoodout to me the most in that series, as he was showcasing his passing abilities, teaming up with Howard for a several alley-oop plays.
James Harden has had his share of struggles against the Clippers, most notably in the first three games of their regular season clashes. Harden has averaged 20.0 points, 7.3 assists, and 5.0 rebounds in four games against the Clippers which doesn't seem too awful. But he has been held to 35.8 percent shooting from the field and 24.0 percent shooting from three-point range. Los Angeles did a wonderful job of contesting his jumpers in those games, shadowing Harden as much as possible.
Here are the highlights from the third meeting between the two teams, played February 25, 2015:
Foul shooting has to be kept in mind when thinking about this series. Harden gets to the line plenty of times for Houston, as do Griffin and Paul for the Clippers. However, both teams have Hack-A-Shaq victims. The Rockets have a handful, consisting of Josh Smith, Dwight Howard, and Clint Capela. The Clippers have DeAndre Jordan. Will either of the coaches use that tactic? If not, these guys should still see plenty of trips to the charity stripe and their misses or makes could play a huge role.
Dissecting the starting lineups, you will find that both teams are closely matched. Chris Paul is obviously much better than Jason Terry, but then James Harden is no match for J.J. Redick. The two small forwards are spot up shooters, with Trevor Ariza slightly gaining the upper hand. Blake Griffin will certainly dominate Terrence Jones, while DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard cancel out each other's athleticism and poor free-throw shooting. Though, Howard is much stronger and can find points on his own down low.
Here are the highlights from the second meeting between the two teams, played on February 11, 2015:
For the Clippers, Jamal Crawford will have to be consistent and efficient. He is not only their best bench player, but one of the team's most potent scorers. Glen Davis provides defensive intensity and energy and the occasional mid-range jumper. Austin Rivers gave his father, Doc Rivers, one magical game through seven games in the first round. He will be counted on in this round and will need to be consistent.
The Rockets have Josh Smith and Corey Brewer who both bring ton of energy off the bench along with their skill sets. Brewer provides defensive energy, hustle, and fast break scoring thanks to his ability to leak out proficiently. Smith is versatile, providing the Rockets with play making, shot blocking, and spacing from the power forward position. Then there is Pablo Prigioni who knocks down threes from time to time and gives Houston an additional ball handler.
Since these two teams are evenly matched, bench play may become the determining factor. Both teams are not too deep, but they each have players who make huge impacts on games.
Here are highlights from the first meeting between these two teams, played on November 28, 2014:
The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers split the season series 2-2, with each team getting one victory on the road. These two teams are so evenly matched, especially within the starting units, which makes for an interesting battle.
Hello, hoop fans! Welcome to Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Los Angeles Clippers vs Houston Rockets Live score from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. I am Vahan Shakhpazyan, your host here to guide you through this live for this fantastic matchup.