Rockets 109, Clippers 105
HOUSTON (AP)—Luther Head hit a 3-pointer with 12.2 seconds left and Yao Ming deflected a pass and created a game-sealing steal as the Houston Rockets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on Wednesday night.
The Rockets nearly collapsed in the fourth quarter after building a 17-point lead in the first half.
Elton Brand scored a season-high 37 points and drove for a dunk with 1:01 left that put the Clippers up 105-104.
Yao was whistled for an offensive foul barreling down the lane, but Brand missed a shot from the wing to give Houston another chance.
Tracy McGrady, who led the Rockets with 21, drew the defense to him and found Head wide open in the corner for the go-ahead 3-pointer. Head came into the game shooting 44 percent from 3-point range in the fourth quarter.
After a timeout, Brand tried to find Corey Maggette cutting to the basket, but Yao batted the ball to Rafer Alston, who raced down the floor and was fouled with 5.9 seconds remaining. Alston hit the free throws and finished with 20 points.
Chuck Hayes added 16 points for the Rockets, who’ve won four of their past five and 13 of their past 16 meetings with the Clippers.
Brand also had 10 rebounds to get his 29th double-double of the season. Chris Kaman added 16 for the Clippers, who’ve lost five in a row and six of their past seven.