NBA Playoffs: Houston Rockets Finish off Comeback over Los Angeles Clippers
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Rockets have advanced to the NBA's Western Conference finals for the first time since 1997 by becoming the ninth team in league history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit.
James Harden poured in 31 points and the Rockets never trailed in taking Game 7 of the conference semifinals, 113-100 over the Los Angeles Clippers. Dwight Howard finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Rockets, whose comeback began when they erased a 19-point, third-quarter deficit to win Game 5.
Houston led by 20 in the clincher after Howard converted a 3-point play at the start of the fourth quarter. The Clippers eventually used a 9-0 run to cut their deficit to eight with less than 2 1/2 minutes remaining before Trevor Ariza's 3-pointer secured the victory. Ariza hit six treys in scoring 22 points.
The Clippers still haven't advanced to a conference finals since the franchise began as the Buffalo Braves. Blake Griffin provided 27 points and Chris Paul had 26 and 10 assists for Los Angeles.
The Rockets now prepare for the Golden State Warriors, who just took out Memphis in six games after trailing that series 2-1. Game 1 is Tuesday in Oakland.
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