For those who missed it, the Rockets stopped by Toyota Center long enough to demonstrate a road-trip checklist of lowlights. But that was not the worst part, or the issue that now hangs over them as the greatest concern with another stretch of road games piled up in front of them.

The Rockets still turned the ball over far too often, sending the Los Angeles Clippers flying to their usual dunk show Tuesday night. They still missed gobs of free throws to give away even more possessions. They still settled for long jumpers, taking a season-high 37 3-pointers.

The Rockets' greatest issue, however, as they head back out of town after a 117-109 loss to the Clippers, is a defense that was about as effective as a serious case of halitosis.

Worse, as Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford dominated the second half as if playing with neighborhood kids on the driveway — making the absence of Chris Paul barely noticeable — the Rockets rolled over, with coach Kevin McHale charging they "just gave in."

"We couldn't establish much defensively," McHale said. "We just gave in I thought in the third quarter. We didn't have what we had to have to keep that game within closing distance."

With a one-point lead at halftime, the Rockets began the second half as if they had built enough of a cushion to coast the rest of the way and were instead blasted into a season-long four-game losing streak.

They had not been stopping the Clippers before then, any more than they had done anything to slow Boston or Philadelphia over the weekend. When the second half began, the Clippers overwhelmed the Rockets' increasingly feeble defense, finishing the night with 53.8 percent shooting and 57.9 percent 3-point shooting, the best against the Rockets this season. Their 31 points off turnovers were the most the Rockets have allowed.