Paul, Clippers send Rockets to loss column
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Paul continued his red-hot start to the season with 23 points and 17 assists in the Los Angeles Clippers' 137- 118 wire-to-wire win over the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.
J.J. Redick added a game-high 26 points and Jamal Crawford added 21 points while connecting on 6-of-11 from 3-point range for the Clippers, who have won three straight after a stunning loss to the Lakers in their season opener.
"Our defense is better than it looks. It is going to get better," Paul said. "It is all about our pace. When we get stops our eyes light up because we have so many options."
Omri Casspi scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds and James Harden scored 15 points on just 6-of-16 shooting for the Rockets, who were handed their first loss of the season.
"We had no defensive intensity. They did whatever they wanted. We scored, but we just couldn't stop them. They ran with every one of our mistakes and made us pay," said Rockets head coach Kevin McHale.
The Clippers raced out to 20-6 lead midway through the first quarter and took a sizeable 42-25 advantage into the second. Redick finished with 15 points and Paul dished out nine assists in the frame.
LA's lead dwindled to just six points following Francisco Garcia's trey with 7:37 left in the first half, but the Clippers outscored the Rockets 25-19 the rest of the way to take a 78-66 lead into the break.
The Clippers led by as many as 17 in the third, but a 9-0 burst from the Rockets early in the fourth made it 107-98 with 10:13 to play.
LA responded with a 22-10 flurry, capped with an incredible alley-oop slam from Paul to Blake Griffin, for a 129-108 advantage with 4:27 to go.
Houston didn't get closer than 15 the rest of the way.
Crawford surpassed Eddie Jones for 15th place on the all-time list for 3- pointers made with 1,550 ... The Clippers' 137 points are the most they have scored in regulation since March 13, 1998 ... Griffin finished with 18 points and seven rebounds ... Dwight Howard scored 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the loss ... The Indiana Pacers are the only unbeaten team in the NBA.
11/05 01:54:16 ET