FINAL | February 13, 2013 | STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA 

Clippers

28

21

23

24

96

LOGO

46

23

19

18

106

 

ERIC PATTEN  

LOS ANGELES – The first quarter was all the Clippers needed in Wednesday night’s return to Staples Center.

They scored an NBA season-high 46 points in the first 12 minutes, snaring an 18-point lead over the Houston Rockets and using the early cushion to earn a 106-96 victory.

It was the third win in a row for the Clippers (38-17) and first game in their home arena since Jan. 27 after returning early Tuesday morning from a season-long eight-game road trip. The Rockets (29-26), playing without All-Star James Harden (ankle), failed to get closer than 10 points despite outscoring the Clippers over the final three periods.

“It was a big first quarter for us. I thought we jumped on them early,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We got sluggish in the second half. I think we played the score a little bit too much.”

After taking a 46-28 lead, the Clippers seemed to let off the figurative gas pedal, scoring just 60 points and committing 18 of their 19 turnovers the rest of the way. Still, they held the high-scoring Rockets to 43.9% shooting, 20.8% from 3-point range, and forced 21 turnovers.

Houston’s miscues without Harden, the league’s fifth leading scorer, were compounded by the Clippers’ ultra-efficient opening quarter.  

“We were just moving the ball well, guys were hitting shots,” Blake Griffin said of the first quarter. “We played pretty good defense and everything was kind of going for us. But we’ve got to do a better job of not letting up in the next three quarters.”

Griffin was arguably one of the constants for the Clippers. He had 20 points (6-of-10 shooting) with 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals for his team-high 22nd double-double.

Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler each added 19 points, despite missing the Clippers’ 17-point win at Philadelphia with sore lower backs. And Chris Paul went for 10 points and 11 assists, including all 10 of his points and six assists in the team’s dynamic opening period.

Afterwards, Paul sounded more concerned about the Clippers allowing Houston to score 28 points in the first period than anything they did offensively.

“Forty-six [points] is all good and well,” Paul said. “But we gave up 28 points in the first quarter, so that was a recipe for failure anyway.”

The Clippers offense, however, was overwhelming. They shot a season-best 77.3% in the first with all five starters scoring within the first five minutes.

“We’ve got to make sure we really put teams away and when it does come that time, when it is away, we can relax a little bit,” Griffin said. “We can’t let off the gas pedal at all. We’ve got to keep going.”

NOTES

Griffin became the fifth player this season to tally at least 20 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals in a single game… Butler had 17 points in the first period, one short of the Clippers’ season high for points in a quarter. Butler scored 18 points on Nov. 26 against New Orleans… It was the Clippers' fifth win in a row over the Rockets... Jamal Crawford made his first four shots and finished with 13 points… Six players scored in double digits for Houston, including a team-high 17 from Chandler Parsons… Paul and Griffin addressed the crowd prior to the game. “We want to thank you guys for your support in helping and selecting us to getting us to the All-Star game,” Paul said. Paul handed the microphone to Griffin who said, “We also want to thank you guys for your support all season, you’ve been amazing... And we can’t wait to keep it going.” 

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS »
LOOKING AHEAD:
 
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14 THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21

7:30 PM
LOS ANGELES LAKERS

7:30 PM
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
BUY TICKETS