The Houston Rockets overcame yet another monster Blake Griffin performance to hold off the short-handed LA Clippers 115-109 in Game 2 of their Western Conference semiifinal series Wednesday night.

James Harden scored 16 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Rockets to the 1-1 series tie.

Dwight Howard was also in fine form, finishing with 24 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.

Per the Houston Chronicle:

Trailing the Clippers by 13 in the second half on Wednesday, the Rockets had shown few signs of the turnaround that would come. But they made a lineup change, sat James Harden and put together a second-half comeback that took them past the Clippers 115-109 to even their first round series at 1-1 heading to Friday’s Game 3. […] “The bottom line is this series in nor for the weak of heart,” Rockets guard Jason Terry said. “The tougher team will win. Tonight, we came out in the second half a much tougher team. The first game and the first half of this game, they were the tougher team and so when you put this Rockets uniform on, you better come in here ready to fight.”

 

The Rockets went to a small lineup, with Trevor Ariza playing the power forward to provide spacing and a jolt of scoring along with more active front defense on Blake Griffin to turn the game around. The Rockets went from a 13-point second-half deficit to a 12-point lead with four minutes left, then made just enough free throws to hold on. […] “We had to just change things up on Blake Griffin,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said of Griffin’s 26-point first half. “He was just backing us down, making shots. We were again too passive, just letting him have his way with us. We were trying to trap him, but couldn’t get there in time. When we went small, we were able to front him. (Ariza) did a nice job and Dwight (Howard) did a nice job putting a body on him, not letting him be quite as free as he was in the first half.”

 

“We had them on the ropes,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said as he left the interview room podium. “We had them on the ropes.” […] “It’s always tough, especially having four fouls in the third quarter, but my teammates did a really good job of fighting and battling and keeping the game really close,” Harden said. “That allowed me in that fourth quarter to just go out there and just do what I’ve got to do. I knew my team was battling extremely hard and basically it was up to me to go out there and push us forward. They kept it a close game and they were battling. I sat out the entire third quarter so by the end of the third quarter, I was well rested.”