The Houston Rockets erased any hope of being swept by the Los Angeles Clippers after beating them for the first time in three meetings this season.
James Harden scored 31 points, Chris Paul had 29, and the Rockets dominated the Clippers 135-103 on Wednesday night at Staples Center in a potential playoff matchup.
Clint Capela added 24 points and 15 rebounds for Houston (51-28), helping cause L.A (47-32) its largest margin of defeat at home this season.
“Do we have any questions today after that?” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said at the postgame news conference. “I mean, really. They just kicked our butts all around the floor.”
Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Clippers with 20 points, Danilo Gallinari had 16 and Williams added 14 off the bench in 23 minutes.
“Every once in a while, you get the (expletive) kicked out of you,” said Williams. “We hadn’t had one of these in three, four months, so we were due.”
L.A. was coming off winning a league-best 13 of 15 but ran into a wall early on after falling behind 13 in the first quarter.
Harden and Paul combined to score 22 points, making 4 of 4 shots from behind three-point distance and the Rockets shot 64 percent from the field in 12 minutes of play.
“It’s the best we’ve played and it’s the right time,” Harden said.
Houston extended its lead to 22 in the second before the Clippers closed out the half on a 9-2 run, cutting their deficit to 68-53 at halftime.
The Rockets outrebounded the Clippers 25-16 and shot 52 percent from three on 10 makes, while L.A. only made four on 40 percent shooting.
“(Chris) is dialed in, and James, too,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said on his two-star players. “When they play like that, it’s pretty tough to lose. We played unbelievably.”
In the second half, Paul scored six consecutive points only before Harden ran off eight in a row. Paul then capped the third with a 61-foot half court heave that stretched Houston’s lead to 102-73.
“I know we’re a much better team than we played tonight,” Rivers said. “We still got to prove it. I thought they were locked in; they were ready for the game tonight and for whatever reason I didn’t think we had that type of urgency.”