Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error From down 37-24, the Clippers outscored the Rockets 93-64.Blake Griffin had a spectacular game, coming through with a triple-double. He scored 26 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and doled out 13 assists. Jamal Crawford scored 21 points off the bench, Matt Barnes had 20 points and J.J. Redick 17 after he did not score in the first half. Austin Rivers started in place of Paul and scored 17 points and had four steals. DeAndre Jordan had 10 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.Game 2 is Wednesday at Toyota Center. The Clippers were just 2 of 15 from 3-point range in the first half, but 11 of 16 in the second half to finish 13 of 31 (41.9 percent).The younger Rivers may have started at point guard, but Griffin was the point forward. Not just with his statistics but with his leadership, taking the team in a huddle the way Paul does.“My main message through the entire game was just to stay together,” Griffin said. There is no reason for us to ever crumble and fall part. What were we down, 11 in the second quarter or first half or whatever it was?”Griffin was told it was 13.“We just can’t crumble, especially in games like this,” he said. “We’ve seen so many things happen. That was really my message to the team and not having CP, obviously, besides his oncourt production, we miss his leadership and his talk. That void needs to be filled. But I kind of have to do it my own way.”Coach Doc Rivers said it all.“He was great,” the elder Rivers said of Griffin. “I mean, he was the point guard out there for us. His vision is unbelievable and it’s a weapon for us.”Griffin was a beast, all the way around.“Blake did everything,” Jordan said. “He rebounded the ball, he defended, he scored and he passed the hell out of the ball.”This victory should not surprise anyone, Doc Rivers intimated.“This team is a mentally tough team,” he said. “They believe in each other, they play together, they trust each other.”Dwight Howard led Houston with 22 points and 10 rebounds, James Harden scored 20 points and had 12 assists, but he also had nine turnovers. Trevor Ariza scored 17 points. Harden was hard on himself.“Well, for me, I’m the catalyst, especially on offense, so I’ve gotta do a better job,” he said. “The nine turnovers isn’t going to cut it.”The Rockets had 23 turnovers, but the Clippers had 21. Griffin had five, Crawford six. He, too, handled the ball a lot because of Paul’s absence. Paul was on the bench in street clothes, acting like a coach.“He was great,” Doc Rivers said. “The funniest thing was, after the game he said, ‘I’ve never sweat so much in my life.’”As happy as the Clippers’ coach was, Rockets coach Kevin McHale was that bummed out.“We didn’t play with much composure all night long,” he said. “We had (23) turnovers. We had 15 turnovers in the first half. We were just sloppy. They played with much more of an edge.”As for Austin Rivers, he swore he had no butterflies stepping in to fill some big shoes.“I honestly was not nervous,” he said. “I was super excited.” HOUSTON >> It would have almost been understandable if the Clippers were still thinking about their thrilling first-round series win over San Antonio when they squared off with the Houston Rockets on Monday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at Toyota Center.If they were, they didn’t show it — certainly not in the second half. With Chris Paul, hero of the Game 7 win over the Spurs, in street clothes because of a hamstring injury, the Clippers had their work cut out for them. After they scored a whopping 37 points in the third quarter to take a six-point lead into the fourth, they rode that momentum to a 117-101 victory over the Rockets before 18,231 rather disappointed fans.Those fans were whooping it up when their Rockets took a 13-point lead on a 3-pointer by Pablo Prigioni with 8:15 left in the second quarter. But the Clippers pulled within 50-46 at the break, and it was all Los Angeles after that.
Evelyn Hidalgo, who worked for a year in personnel at the plant, described the mood there Friday as “very somber.” She added, “Everybody came in this morning like it was a regular day. Then we had a meeting and that was it. It’s heartbreaking.” Topps faces at least two lawsuits filed since the recall; one from the family of an upstate New York girl who became ill, and one seeking class-action status on behalf of all people who bought or ate the hamburgers. The closing, or any subsequent bankruptcy, does not derail the lawsuits.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEWARK, N.J. – It took 67 years to build Topps Meat Co. into one of the country’s largest suppliers of frozen beef patties; it took just six days to bring it down. Topps, which began grinding beef before the nation entered World War II and eventually had its products sold in stores across the country, announced on Friday that it was shutting down. Closure of the privately held, Elizabeth-based company puts 87 employees out of work and comes after Topps was forced to issue the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history on Sept. 29. The culprit was 21.7 million pounds of frozen beef patties – an entire year of production – that may have been tainted with potentially fatal E. coli bacteria. The Topps recall raised questions about whether the U.S. Agriculture Department should have acted quicker to encourage a recall, and on Thursday, top USDA officials said they would speed warnings in the future. Thirty people in eight states had E. coli infections matching the strain found in the Topps patties, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. None have died. Topps conceded that much of the recalled meat had already been eaten, and on Friday expressed regret that its product had been linked to illnesses. “We hope and pray for the full recovery of those individuals,” said Topps chief operating officer Anthony D’Urso, a member of the family that founded the company in 1940. “This is tragic for all concerned,” D’Urso said in a statement. Workers left the plant in small groups Friday afternoon, most carrying personal belongings.