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Harden's 31 leads Rockets' 135-103 rout of Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP) �� The NBA playoffs are still days away. Tell that to the Houston Rockets, who have their postseason mentality locked in.

James Harden scored 31 points, Chris Paul added 29, and the Rockets routed the Los Angeles Clippers 135-103 on Wednesday night in a potential playoff preview.

"(Chris) is dialed in, and James, too," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "When they play like that, it's pretty tough to lose. We played unbelievably."

Clint Capela had 24 points and 15 rebounds to help the Rockets win their fourth in a row. They showed little fatigue in cruising past the NBA's hottest team while playing their last back-to-back of the season.

"It's the best we've played and it's the right time," Harden said.

The Rockets currently own the third seed in the Western Conference and the Clippers are sixth, which would pair them in the first round.

"It'd be a tough series," Paul said. "They're very disciplined."

Asked how the Clippers would match up, coach Doc Rivers said, "If we go by tonight, not very well. But we're a much better team than we showed."

Paul stunned the crowd by hitting a deep 3-pointer that beat the buzzer to end the third, in which the Rockets outscored the Clippers 34-20.

Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Clippers with 20 points and Danilo Gallinari added 16. They had won an NBA-best 13 of 15 coming in, but lost for the first time in three meetings with Houston this season.

"Every once in a while, you get the (expletive) kicked out of you," said Lou Williams, who had 14 points off the bench. "We hadn't had one of these in three, four months, so we were due."

The Rockets set the tone early, shooting 64% in the first quarter.

Houston stretched its lead to 22 in the second before the Clippers closed on a 9-2 run to trail 68-53 at halftime.

Harden and Paul dominated the third. First, Paul ran off six straight points and later Harden scored eight in a row. Paul's back-to-back 3-pointers sent the Rockets into the final quarter leading 102-73.

"We only got, what, three more games now? Four? To get ready for the great grind of the playoffs," Paul said. "Everybody's just trying to get going."

TIP-INS

Rockets: They had lost eight of their last 13 against the Clippers at Staples Center. ... They improved to 8-4 in the second game of a back-to-back. ... The game reunited G Austin Rivers with his father Doc. The younger Rivers is averaging 8.2 points off the bench since signing as a free agent at Christmas.

Clippers: G Patrick Beverley (right hip pointer) rested. ... The teams played for the first time since late October. The Clippers won the first two meetings, but several players from both teams either didn't play in those games or were later traded. ... Clipper Darrell razzed Paul in his first trip to the free throw line. After making both, Paul tapped his chest and nodded in Darrell's direction. ... Rapper Ty Dolla $ign sat courtside with a small dog in his lap.

MOURNING NIPSEY

Harden is one of several athletes mourning the shooting death of rapper Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles on Sunday.

"He was powerful. Not just to a certain dynamic or a certain city, but just to the world," Harden said. "He was a leader. He was so many things. His life got taken away off nonsense, off B.S. It's just been sad. Not only myself but a lot of people around this world is affected by it. It just doesn't seem real."

UP NEXT

Rockets: Host New York Knicks on Friday.

Clippers: Host Lakers on Friday.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:42   Ivica Zubac missed hook shot  
11:40   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
11:17 +2 Landry Shamet made driving layup, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 0-2
11:03 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 2-2
10:32   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
10:16   Shooting foul on Ivica Zubac  
10:16 +1 James Harden made 1st of 2 free throws 3-2
10:16 +1 James Harden made 2nd of 2 free throws 4-2
10:01   Offensive foul on Landry Shamet  
9:48 +3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. jump shot 7-2
9:30   Landry Shamet missed jump shot  
9:29   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
9:13   Defensive rebound by Landry Shamet  
9:09 +2 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made layup, assist by Landry Shamet 7-4
8:53 +2 James Harden made floating jump shot 9-4
8:40 +2 Danilo Gallinari made jump shot, assist by Ivica Zubac 9-6
8:26   Traveling violation turnover on Clint Capela  
8:14   Out of bounds turnover on Garrett Temple  
8:03 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 11-6
7:53   Personal foul on James Harden  
7:39   Shooting foul on P.J. Tucker  
7:39 +1 Danilo Gallinari made 1st of 2 free throws 11-7
7:29   Shooting foul on Danilo Gallinari  
7:29 +1 James Harden made 1st of 2 free throws 12-8
7:29 +1 James Harden made 2nd of 2 free throws 13-8
7:10 +3 Danilo Gallinari made 3-pt. jump shot 13-11
6:56 +3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. jump shot 16-11
6:40   Bad pass turnover on Ivica Zubac, stolen by P.J. Tucker  
6:35   Eric Gordon missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:30   Defensive rebound by Ivica Zubac  
6:22   Bad pass turnover on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, stolen by Chris Paul  
6:13 +2 James Harden made driving layup 18-11
5:48 +3 Landry Shamet made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Montrezl Harrell 18-14
5:48 +3 Landry Shamet made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Montrezl Harrell 18-14
5:28 +2 James Harden made floating jump shot 20-14
5:19   Bad pass turnover on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, stolen by P.J. Tucker  
5:13 +3 Austin Rivers made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Clint Capela 23-14
5:00 +2 Danilo Gallinari made driving layup, assist by Montrezl Harrell 23-16
4:35   Shooting foul on Danuel House Jr.  
4:33   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
4:14 +2 Nene made layup, assist by James Harden 25-18
3:54   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed jump shot  
3:48   Personal foul on Landry Shamet  
3:41 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 28-18
3:27   Lou Williams missed driving layup  
3:24 +2 Montrezl Harrell made dunk 28-20
3:06   Defensive rebound by Montrezl Harrell  
3:04 +2 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made layup, assist by Montrezl Harrell 28-22
2:46   Offensive foul on James Harden  
2:39   Personal foul on Chris Paul  
2:30   JaMychal Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:27   Defensive rebound by Austin Rivers  
2:14   Chris Paul missed jump shot  
2:07   Personal foul on Nene  
2:07 +1 Landry Shamet made 1st of 2 free throws 28-23
2:04   Offensive rebound by Landry Shamet  
1:52   Bad pass turnover on Wilson Chandler, stolen by Kenneth Faried  
1:43 +3 Eric Gordon made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 31-23
1:38   Shooting foul on Austin Rivers  
1:38   Lou Williams missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:38   LAC team rebound  
1:38 +1 Lou Williams made 2nd of 2 free throws 31-24
1:27 +2 Austin Rivers made floating jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 33-24
1:17 +2 Tyrone Wallace made floating jump shot, assist by Lou Williams 33-26
0:59   Kenneth Faried missed reverse layup  
0:56   Defensive rebound by Montrezl Harrell  
0:47   Tyrone Wallace missed driving layup  
0:41 +3 Eric Gordon made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 36-26
0:34   HOU team rebound  
0:28 +3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. jump shot 39-26
0:04   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:47   Kenneth Faried missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:41   Defensive rebound by Tyrone Wallace  
11:31   Defensive rebound by Nene  
11:20 +2 Kenneth Faried made reverse layup, assist by Chris Paul 41-26
11:13   Personal foul on Nene  
11:07 +2 Lou Williams made jump shot, assist by Montrezl Harrell 41-28
10:47   Defensive rebound by JaMychal Green  
10:43 +2 Montrezl Harrell made dunk, assist by Lou Williams 41-30
10:40   Chris Paul missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:24   Defensive rebound by JaMychal Green  
10:21   Shooting foul on Kenneth Faried  
10:21   Lou Williams missed 1st of 2 free throws  
10:21   LAC team rebound  
10:21 +1 Lou Williams made 2nd of 2 free throws 41-31
10:06   Personal foul on Wilson Chandler  
9:56   Shooting foul on JaMychal Green  
9:56 +1 Danuel House Jr. made 1st of 3 free throws 42-31
9:56 +1 Danuel House Jr. made 2nd of 3 free throws 43-31
9:56 +1 Danuel House Jr. made 2nd of 3 free throws 43-31
9:56 +1 Danuel House Jr. made 3rd of 3 free throws 44-31
9:51   Personal foul on Danuel House Jr.  
9:43   JaMychal Green missed hook shot, blocked by Clint Capela  
9:39   Defensive rebound by Austin Rivers  
9:36   Eric Gordon missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:16   Wilson Chandler missed jump shot  
9:16   Wilson Chandler missed jump shot  
9:01 +2 Clint Capela made layup, assist by Chris Paul 46-31
8:51 +1 Lou Williams made 2nd of 2 free throws 46-33
8:36   Offensive rebound by Chris Paul  
8:11   Personal foul on Tyrone Wallace  
7:59   3-second violation turnover on Clint Capela  
7:59   3-second violation turnover on Clint Capela  
7:37   Offensive rebound by James Harden  
7:37   Shooting foul on Montrezl Harrell  
7:37   HOU team rebound  
7:37   HOU team rebound  
7:14   Danilo Gallinari missed fade-away jump shot  
7:10   Offensive rebound by Montrezl Harrell  
7:10   Offensive rebound by Montrezl Harrell  
7:09   Montrezl Harrell missed dunk, blocked by P.J. Tucker  
6:27 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 56-35
6:27 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 56-35
6:10   Montrezl Harrell missed floating jump shot  
5:56   Bad pass turnover on James Harden, stolen by Montrezl Harrell  
5:50 +3 Landry Shamet made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Lou Williams 56-38
5:39   Clint Capela missed layup  
5:39   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
5:39   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
5:38   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
5:38   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
5:38   Shooting foul on Montrezl Harrell  
5:38 +1 Clint Capela made 1st of 2 free throws 57-38
5:38 +1 Clint Capela made 2nd of 2 free throws 58-38
5:14 +2 Danilo Gallinari made fade-away jump shot, assist by Garrett Temple 58-40
5:14   Shooting foul on Eric Gordon  
4:59   P.J. Tucker missed floating jump shot  
4:59   P.J. Tucker missed floating jump shot  
4:53 +2 Clint Capela made hook shot 60-41
4:53 +2 Clint Capela made hook shot 60-41
4:38   Landry Shamet missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:31   Shooting foul on Garrett Temple  
4:31 +1 James Harden made 1st of 2 free throws 61-41
4:31 +1 James Harden made 2nd of 2 free throws 62-41
4:21   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed reverse layup  
4:13   Traveling violation turnover on Danuel House Jr.  
4:13   Traveling violation turnover on Danuel House Jr.  
4:04 +2 Garrett Temple made driving layup, assist by Landry Shamet 62-43
3:45   Bad pass turnover on James Harden, stolen by Ivica Zubac  
3:42 +1 Garrett Temple made 1st of 2 free throws 62-44
3:42 +1 Garrett Temple made 1st of 2 free throws 62-44
3:42   Garrett Temple missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
3:38   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
3:28 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 64-44
3:28 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 64-44
3:01   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
2:47 +1 Chris Paul made 1st of 2 free throws 65-44
2:47 +1 Chris Paul made 1st of 2 free throws 65-44
2:35   Personal foul on James Harden  
2:35 +1 Ivica Zubac made 1st of 2 free throws 66-45
2:35 +1 Ivica Zubac made 2nd of 2 free throws 66-46
2:19   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:15   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
2:15   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
2:00   Defensive rebound by Landry Shamet  
2:00   Defensive rebound by Landry Shamet  
1:53 +3 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Landry Shamet 66-49
1:40   Personal foul on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
1:40 +1 Chris Paul made 1st of 2 free throws 67-49
1:27   Lou Williams missed driving layup, blocked by Clint Capela  
1:24   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
1:20   Lost ball turnover on James Harden, stolen by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
1:20   Lost ball turnover on James Harden, stolen by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
1:19 +1 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made 1st of 2 free throws 68-50
1:19   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:19   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:06   Shooting foul on Ivica Zubac  
1:06   Clint Capela missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:06   Clint Capela missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:06   Clint Capela missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:06   Clint Capela missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:04   Defensive rebound by Danilo Gallinari  
0:50   Danilo Gallinari missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:48   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
0:35 +2 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made finger-roll layup, assist by JaMychal Green 68-52
0:35 +2 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made finger-roll layup, assist by JaMychal Green 68-52
0:27   Lost ball turnover on James Harden, stolen by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
0:22   Shooting foul on Chris Paul  
0:22 +1 Lou Williams made 1st of 2 free throws 68-53
0:22   Lou Williams missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
0:19   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
0:02   P.J. Tucker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:02   HOU team rebound  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:43 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 70-53
11:22   Traveling violation turnover on Danilo Gallinari  
11:02   Eric Gordon missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:00   Defensive rebound by Danilo Gallinari  
10:51   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
10:48   Personal foul on Landry Shamet  
10:36 +2 James Harden made driving layup 72-53
10:24 +2 Ivica Zubac made dunk, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 72-55
10:11 +2 Chris Paul made jump shot 74-55
10:05   Out of bounds turnover on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
9:46 +2 Chris Paul made jump shot 76-55
9:23   Danilo Gallinari missed fade-away jump shot, blocked by Eric Gordon  
9:12 +2 Chris Paul made fade-away jump shot 78-55
8:55 +2 Danilo Gallinari made jump shot, assist by Garrett Temple 78-57
8:44   Chris Paul missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:41   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
8:37   Offensive foul on James Harden  
8:20   Defensive rebound by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
8:17 +2 Garrett Temple made dunk, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 78-59
7:59   Defensive rebound by Danilo Gallinari  
7:55 +2 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made layup, assist by Danilo Gallinari 78-61
7:40   Bad pass turnover on P.J. Tucker, stolen by Ivica Zubac  
7:37   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed layup, blocked by Chris Paul  
7:37   LAC team rebound  
7:30   Offensive foul on Garrett Temple  
7:12 +2 Clint Capela made dunk, assist by Eric Gordon 80-61
6:56 +2 Danilo Gallinari made jump shot, assist by JaMychal Green 80-63
6:30   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:14   Personal foul on Danilo Gallinari  
6:00 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 82-63
5:43   Personal foul on Danuel House Jr.  
4:27   Defensive rebound by JaMychal Green  
4:09   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
3:57 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 89-66
3:57   Shooting foul on Danilo Gallinari  
3:57 +1 James Harden made free throw 90-66
3:41   Defensive rebound by Danuel House Jr.  
3:36   Offensive foul on Kenneth Faried  
3:36   Offensive foul on Kenneth Faried  
3:16   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:14   LAC team rebound  
3:03 +3 Lou Williams made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Landry Shamet 90-69
2:32 +2 Lou Williams made finger-roll layup 90-71
2:32   Shooting foul on Kenneth Faried  
2:32   Lou Williams missed free throw  
1:54   Out of bounds turnover on Montrezl Harrell  
1:47   Chris Paul missed jump shot  
1:44   Defensive rebound by JaMychal Green  
1:29   Bad pass turnover on Tyrone Wallace, stolen by Kenneth Faried  
1:12   Chris Paul missed driving layup  
1:08   Offensive rebound by P.J. Tucker  
1:00   Shooting foul on JaMychal Green  
1:00 +1 Danuel House Jr. made free throw 96-71
0:43   Out of bounds turnover on JaMychal Green  
0:27 +3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. jump shot 99-71
0:12   Personal foul on Austin Rivers  
0:00   Offensive rebound by Montrezl Harrell  
0:00 +2 Montrezl Harrell made dunk 99-73
0:00   End of period  

4th Quarter

Time Team