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CLIPPERS CAN'T GET WIN AGAINST ROCKETS, EITHER : HOUSTON 104, CLIPPERS 95.

Byline: Randy Hill

As usual, the Clippers were hot to pull off an upset. And as usual, they were the ones to get fried.

Working the grill Tuesday were the Houston Rockets, who served up the Clippers' 26th loss in 29 games, 104-95, in front of 9,188 at the Sports Arena. While the Clippers were digesting their ninth loss in the past 11 games, the hungry Rockets (22-9) polished off their eighth consecutive victory and 12th in the past 13 games.

The one bright spot for the Clippers was Tyrone Nesby. Matched against Houston's Scottie Pippen - the gold-medal standard for defense among NBA small forwards - the rookie forward hopped around for a career-high 24 points and five steals.

``Pippen is cool,'' said Nesby. ``He said he liked my game and told me to keep workin' hard. I asked him if I could wear his shoes. He said he'd send some down.''

``They have a lot of talent in (Maurice) Taylor and Nesby,'' Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich, being gracious in victory, said. ``The Clippers are a dangerous team.''

The visiting Rockets - whose frontcourt (Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley) is marking time in style before being retired to the Hall of Fame - are expected to leave huge footprints in games like these.

Still, Houston's big three combined for just 37 points, But rookie guard Michael Dickerson went airborne for 19, while Brent Price (19) and Othella Harrington (17) combined for 36 off the bench. Price hit two from downtown to sabotage the Clippers' latest fourth-quarter conspiracy.

Maurice Taylor had 21 points for the Clippers.
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 31, 1999
Words:264
Previous Article:ROGERS GETS INITIATED EARLY.
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