The Clippers were off to the races Monday night, running over the foul-prone Dwight Howard and his Houston Rockets and running toward a historic night.
With seven players scoring in double figures, and with Chris Paul leading the way with his fourth straight double-double, the Clippers defeated the Rockets, 137-118, Monday night at Staples Center.
“It was one of those games. We were making everything,” said Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, whose team shot 52.1% from the field, 39.5% (15 for 38) from three-point range. “They were in foul trouble. So for us tonight, a lot of things went right.”
Paul directed the Clippers' track meet, scoring 23 points on seven-for-13 shooting, and handing out a season-high 17 assists.
Jamal Crawford provided the spark off the bench, dropping in 21 points on seven-for-15 shooting, six-for-11 from three-point range.
J.J. Redick gave the Clippers a lift with his 26 points on eight-for-17 shooting. Blake Griffin (18 points, seven rebounds), DeAndre Jordan (11 points, nine rebounds) and Jared Dudley (15 points) all did their part to help the Clippers win their third straight game.
The Clippers scored 78 first-half points, tying the Los Angeles Clippers record for the most points in a half that was set in March of 1998 against the Toronto Raptors. The all-time franchise record for points in a half is 87, held by the San Diego Clippers.
It really wasn't a surprise to see the Clippers run up so many points against the Rockets. After all, the Clippers entered the game as the NBA's top-scoring team, averaging 113 points per game.
Still, despite building a 17-point, first-half lead because of their 59.1% shooting and offensive outburst, the Clippers led by just 12 points at the half.
That lead was extended to 15 points by the end of a third quarter in which the Clippers dropped 104 points on the Rockets.
“We're scoring at a pretty quick pace,” Rivers said.
Howard was booed when he was introduced and each time he touched the basketball and when he missed a shot.
The crowd really went into frenzy cheering Howard when he picked up his third foul with 1:23 left in the first quarter. Howard played just six minutes, 27 seconds in the first half, all in the first.
It wasn't as if Howard played for the Clippers. He did, after all, spend one disappointing season (2012-13) with the Lakers, never looking like a dominating player because he was recovering from back surgery.
That didn't stop the fans from booing Howard all night long. Howard finished with just 13 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes, 49 seconds.
The Clippers ran into their own foul trouble in the third quarter, when both Griffin and Jordan picked up their fourth fouls and were forced to take a seat on the bench.
But that didn't stop the Clippers from giving the Rockets (3-1) their first loss of the season.
Even though the Clippers gave up at least 100 points for the fourth consecutive game, they pulled out a win before they leave Tuesday for a three-game trip.