The Los Angeles Clippers' improbable meltdown is complete as the Houston Rockets beat them 113-100 in Game 7 of the NBA's Western Conference semifinals on Sunday. The Clippers led the best-of-seven series 3-1 after four games and had a 19-point advantage in the second half of Game 6 in Los Angeles, where they had a chance to close out the Rockets.

Instead, Chris Paul and company choked in that game to give Houston a chance to steal the series in the deciding seventh game. Finding a new lease on life, the Rockets took full advantage of the opportunity. The Rockets will next play the Golden State Warriors, who recently eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies.

Unlike the Clippers, the Rockets showed poise and confidence in protecting the double-digit advantage. James Harden, who was not part of the Rockets’ line-up in the fourth quarter of their comeback victory in Game 6, played like an MVP candidiate, finishing with a game-high 31 points and adding 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals.

Josh Smith and Corey Brewer, the unlikely heroes of the previous game, added 15 and 11 markers, respectively. Rockets big man Dwight Howard had a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds.

The Clippers, who were still shell-shocked with their Game 6 loss, were led by Chris Paul’s 26 points and 10 assists and Blake Griffin’s 27 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 16 rebounds.

The Rockets advanced to the Western Conference final for the first time since 1997. The Clippers have never reached the conference final in their franchise’s history and it will stay that way this season. Coincidentally, Paul, the Clippers’ leader, has never gotten past the West semifinals in his NBA career.

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