HOUSTON — If it wasn't Willie Green throwing down an emphatic dunk in the third quarter that turned the game in the Clippers' favor, it was Blake Griffin overpowering the Houston Rockets.
If it wasn't Jamal Crawford taking over in the fourth quarter, it was Matt Barnes closing the door in the same quarter. If it wasn't Eric Bledsoe running the show all game, it was Lamar Odom controlling the backboards.
In a game full of season highs in which five Clippers scored in double figures, Los Angeles turned its 117-109 victory over Houston around by playing strong defense in the third quarter Tuesday night at Toyota Center.
Green had 11 of his season-high 15 points in the third quarter, which included two for two on three-point shots and a big-time dunk.
Griffin had 19 points and a season-high eight assists. Crawford had 15 of his season-high 30 points in the fourth quarter.
Barnes had eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. Bledsoe had a season-high 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Odom had a game-high 11 rebounds.
And the Clippers did this with Chris Paul (bruised right knee cap) sitting out his second straight game.
"It was evident tonight that it's a matter of us just going out collectively as a team and everybody doing their part," said Green, who was five for six from the field, two for three from three-point range. "When we're able to do that, we can produce results."
The first thing the Clippers had to do was put forth a better defensive effort in the third quarter.
They trailed, 59-58, at the half and allowed the Rockets to go eight for 20 (40%) from three-point range.
But in the third quarter, the Clippers outscored the Rockets, 32-18, and held them to 38.9% shooting, just 14.3% (one for seven) from three-point range.
"I think that we've shown over the course of the season that we can take a punch and get back up," said Crawford, who was 11 for 20 from the field, five for seven from three-point range. "We gave up a lot of points at halftime. That's kind of uncharacteristic of what we want to do."
The game seemed to turn when Green took a pass from Bledsoe on a three-on-one fastbreak and dunked over James Harden, who fouled the Clippers guard. Green made the free throw for a three-point play and an 81-65 lead midway through the third quarter.
Green's teammates leaped off the bench after his emphatic dunk, chanting "Willie ... Willie ... Willie."
That was part of a 25-6 Clippers run that pushed their lead to 83-65 after Bledsoe scored following Green's exciting play.
If the Rockets had any thoughts about rallying, Crawford and Barnes made sure that didn't happen.
Crawford took the controls in the fourth, scoring the first five field goals in the fourth, pushing the Clippers' lead to 102-83.
Barnes made two of three three-pointers in the fourth, the last one gave the Clippers a 15-point lead late.
"It's been that kind of season for us," Barnes said. "We've had key guys down all season and guys have been ready to step up and do what they need to do to help this team win."