Offense was easy to come by for both teams, and late-game fireworks paved the way for a fun finish.
Los Angeles controlled the game for most of the way, but Houston staged a furious comeback in the fourth, conjuring memories of the teams’ seven-game series from the playoffs last summer. In the final frame, the Rockets began knocking down outside shots and received inspired play from Dwight Howard, finally knotting things up thanks to a three-pointer from Marcus Thornton with less than eight seconds to go.
Redick was the star for Los Angeles. In addition to his long-range explosion, he played chippy defense on James Harden and made numerous clutch free throws. Redick finished with a career-high 40 points, doubling Harden’s output. Paul hit five from beyond the arc himself, closing with 28 points and 12 assists.
Houston wasted a vintage performance from Howard, who scored 36 points and grabbed 26 rebounds. Howard was sensational, running the floor and dominating in the pick-and-roll. His 36–26 game was the first since Chris Webber in 2001, marking the only two such efforts since 1985.The oft-maligned center also had a terrific game from the free-throw line, hitting 14 of 18 attempts. As a team, the Rockets only shot 33 of 52 from the charity stripe.
Los Angeles rebounded after its nine-game winning streak was snapped at the hands of the Kings on Saturday. The win again came without star forward Blake Griffin, who hasn’t played since Christmas due to a quadriceps injury.
Houston had won six of seven entering Monday, but the Rockets’ defense was continually flummoxed by the Clips’ spread attack. Once Redick got going, the Rockets struggled to take away anything from the Clippers’ offense. Harden especially disappointed, letting Redick get under his skin and the better of him on both ends of the court.
Houston is back at home Wednesday to face the Pistons, while the Clippers will travel to Cleveland for their next game Thursday.