There's no love lost between Griffin and Luis Scola, whose matchups are always filled with elbows, jarring position battles on the block and plenty of yapping. On Saturday, Griffin got the best of Scola. His jumper was unusually smooth and effective, and his interior passing in the fourth quarter was responsible for much of the Clippers' meager stretch offense.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Paul was nearly invisible in the first half before showcasing his arsenal of midrange jumpers and acrobatic drives in the second. Yes, Paul took over the game down the stretch, scoring 11 points in the game's final three minutes. But his tepid first halves keep inferior teams in games, making Clippers blowouts all but impossible.
Mired in a monthlong shooting slump, Butler followed some of the most basic basketball advice there is: If you keep missing, get closer to the basket. His long-range shots continued to fall short, but Butler found easy points driving the baseline and pushing the pace in transition -- a reassuring sight for Clips fans worried the schedule has drained the life from Butler's legs.
Want to beat the Clippers? Try putting your star point guard in a suit. Off a loss to a Steve Nash-less Suns team, the Clippers struggled against a Rockets team forced to play Goran Dragic 45 minutes in the absence of starters Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. For all the franchise baggage the Clippers have shed this season, their rep for playing down to competition remains intact.
How depleted is the Rockets' backcourt? D-League call-up (and ex-Clipper) Courtney Fortson played without a name on his jersey. But trust the Rockets to do more with less. Courtney Lee and Chase Budinger did the most damage, draining 3s over the undersized Clippers wings. If Scola got the foul call he probably deserved on his final shot, the Rockets might have stolen this one.