With a decisive win against the Houston Rockets on Monday night, the Clippers got their third straight win after dropping their first game to the Los Angeles Lakers. Defense seemed to be absent from the game as the final score was 137-118 in favor of the Clippers. With this win, the Clippers find themselves tied for the second seed in the Western Conference with a 3-1 record.
The Clippers offense was in full force during this game with seven players scoring in double figures. J.J. Redick led the team with 26 points on 8-for-15 shooting. Redick has been incredible this season for the Clippers as he had provided consistent outside shooting which has stretched the floor and allowed Chris Paul more room to operate, drive to the basket and get more open buckets for big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan down low. Speaking of Chris Paul, he finished with another dominant game of 23 points and 17 assists. So far this season Paul leads the league in assists per game (13.3) and is third in the league in points per game (26.5). With numbers like this, he has definitely inserted himself into the conversation for league MVP. Jamal Crawford also pitched in a very solid 21 points off the bench and continues to be one of the most important pieces of the Clippers success as a part of their incredible scoring arsenal.
The Clippers have proven that they have a very impressive gathering of offensive talent, but during this game, their defense shined. Although they gave up 118 points, they played incredible defense on the Rockets’ two stars James Harden and Dwight Howard. The Clips held Harden to just 15 points on 6-for-16 shooting and 0-for-7 from the 3-point arc. Howard was limited to just 13 points and nine rebounds. Due to this, others on the Rockets’ role players were forced to step up and embrace the heightened offensive responsibility. The Clippers withheld this surge and prevailed with some strong performances from their role players.
Gosh … it’s really hard to find something to gripe about during this game. If I had to be extremely picky, I would have to point out that giving up 118 points is never good. But at the same time, the Clippers held the Rockets to less than 50 percent from the field and less than 30 percent from 3-point land. The point total does not equal the defensive effort. Having said that, in the future it will be very important to hold teams to less than 100 points, especially come playoff time.
Dwight Howard’s free throws are, have been, and will always be extremely ugly.