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Austin Rivers propels Clippers past Rockets

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers celebrates a basket against the Houston Rockets during the second half of Game 3 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series on Friday in Los Angeles.
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Austin Rivers scored a career playoff-high 25 points, sparking a decisive run to end the third quarter, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Houston Rockets 124-99 Friday night for a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Chris Paul returned from a hamstring injury to bolster the Clippers with 12 points and seven assists after he missed the first two games of the series. J.J. Redick had a career playoff-best 31 points, Blake Griffin added 22 points and 14 rebounds, and DeAndre Jordan had 15 rebounds.

But it was the coach’s son who came off the bench and helped the Clippers use a 20-3 run to finally get the separation they lacked in the first half. Rivers scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the dominating offensive outburst that extended the Clippers’ lead to 99-76 going into the fourth.

James Harden had 25 points and 11 assists, and Dwight Howard added 14 points and 14 rebounds for theRockets.

Game 4 is Sunday at Staples Center.

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