The Los Angeles Clippers finally returned from their eight- game Grammy road trip and will try and build on a couple of impressive wins Wednesday night when they host the Houston Rockets.
The Clippers got their key pieces back healthy in the form of All-Star starters Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. They looked spectacular in victories over the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers on consecutive nights.
After a 102-88 win in MSG over the Knicks Sunday afternoon, the Clippers blitzed the Sixers Monday night and never trailed. L.A. outplayed Philly in every facet and walked out of the Wells Fargo Center with a 107-90 thumping.
"It was a collective effort," Paul said. "Our starting unit, we got up 6-0 and they had to take a timeout and we kept the pressure on. The second unit came in and kept it going. We just never let really them get into a rhythm."
Paul had 21 points, 11 assists and five steals in just over 24 minutes. Griffin scored 20 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out five assists. Griffin and DeAndre Jordan delighted the Philadelphia fans with some serious dunks.
"I think we have an exciting team and people want to come watch the way we play sometimes," Griffin said. "It's one of those things where we kind of had it rolling."
The Clippers went 4-4 on the sojourn east and have three in a row at home after the All-Star break.
Houston picked up its second win in its last three games Tuesday night on the road against the Golden State Warriors, 116-107. When these teams met last week, the Rockets matched an NBA record with 23 made 3-pointers. The Rockets only converted 10 from long range on Tuesday, but pulled ahead with a 31-23 advantage in the third quarter.
"If we can get ball and body movement, we become hard to guard," said head coach Kevin McHale. "We scored 116 again. When we have ball and body movement we usually get 110 or more throughout the game."
The Rockets have scored over 100 in 10 straight games, going 7-3 during that time. They are second to the Oklahoma City Thunder in scoring, thanks in no small part to All-Star James Harden.
Fifth in the NBA in scoring at 26.1 ppg, Harden netted 27 on Tuesday night. Seven Rockets players went over the 10-point mark and the well-balanced attack was needed. In the second half, Harden stepped on Golden State forward David Lee's foot and rolled his ankle.
"It looked kind of nasty," said McHale.
Harden came back to ice the victory.
"I'm just going to get the proper treatment for it and hopefully I'll be ready to go tomorrow," Harden said on Tuesday. "My main focus is on tomorrow, getting the right treatment, icing it as much as possible and trying to get my ankle and knee ready for tomorrow's game."
The Clippers won this season's first matchup with Houston, a 117-109 victory on Jan. 15 in Space City. L.A. has taken four in a row over the Rockets and Houston last beat the Clippers in L.A. on Dec. 22, 2010.