Luis Scola added 22 points for the Rockets, who have won four in a row. Shane Battier provided 13 points, 10 boards and seven assists in the victory.
Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin posted his 17th consecutive double- double with 24 points and 18 rebounds. However, he missed a potential game- tying three in the closing seconds, as Los Angeles had a three-game win streak broken.
The Rockets took an 88-78 lead when Martin drilled a three-pointer with 4:17 to play, but the Clippers rallied and scored the next six points.
Scola followed with a jumper, but at the other end Baron Davis kicked the ball out to the top of the arc for Griffin, who made the trey to bring the Clippers within 90-87 with 58 seconds left.
However, Kyle Lowry answered with a key basket for Houston. He tossed up an off-balance layup while being fouled in the paint, and made it. Though Lowry missed the free throw, the bucket put the Rockets up by two possessions with only 39.7 seconds left.
The Clippers still got a chance to pull even, despite Lowry’s layup making it less likely. Following Griffin’s bank shot, Martin got to the line and made his first attempt. He missed his second shot, though, and Griffin got the rebound.
After a timeout, Al-Farouq Aminu had the ball on the left side of the court and rose for a three-pointer. Scola was whistled for a foul on the shot, and Aminu made all three foul shots to bring LA within 93-92 with 18 seconds to play.
Two Martin free throws later, the Clippers had the ball with the chance to tie. They worked the ball to Griffin on the left wing, but his shot was off the mark, and Houston got possession after the ball went out of bounds. Martin made two foul shots with 1.8 ticks left to seal the victory.
“Tough game, a good win for us,” said Houston head coach Rick Adelman. “They made it interesting at the end, but we held on to get the win.”
Houston built a big lead in the first quarter, only to blow it. Scola’s layup with 4:13 remaining capped a 13-3 run and gave the Rockets a 27-11 advantage. But LA countered with a 15-1 run, and was within 32-28 moving to the second quarter.
The Rockets stretched their lead back to double digits, however, and buckets from Patrick Patterson and Martin in the final 81 seconds gave Houston a 56-43 advantage at the break.
Houston led by as many as 18 in the third quarter, and carried a 74-62 lead to the fourth.
Houston took 29 three-pointers, and made nine…The Clippers shot 40 percent and made 18-of-26 free throws…DeAndre Jordan ended with 14 points and 13 boards for LA, while Eric Gordon added 18 points and six assists.