DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers shoots over Dwight Howard of Houston during the Clippers’ 122-106 victory Wednesday at Houston/AP photo by Pat Sullivan
Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets was a royal pain to the Clippers the first three times the teams played this season. He went for 20 points and 20 rebounds in the Rockets’ 109-105 victory over the Clippers on Nov. 7 at Staples Center. He scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a 107-97 win over the Clippers on Dec. 19 at Houston and he went for 36 points and 26 rebounds in a 140-132 Clippers overtime victory Jan. 18 at Staples Center.
It was a very different story Wednesday, when the Clippers (43-24) went to Houston and routed the Rockets 122-106. Howard scored just six points on 2 of 4 shooting and grabbed only seven rebounds in nearly 33 minutes.
His Clippers counterpart – DeAndre Jordan – played a big hand in Howard’s non-showing.
“He was great,” said Rivers, whose team will next play Saturday at Memphis. “He had a great game and Dwight has had so many big games against us, the last three especially. We put a major focus on that. Our guys did a great job of game planning there. (James) Harden is just tough to stop, no matter what you do, but when Harden and Howard score, you don’t win.
“I thought our guys did a fantastic job being in the right spot. We did what we were supposed to do and we didn’t let (Dwight) get behind us. He may have had the first dunk, but after that, he didn’t get any underneath; it was just good defense.”
Jordan not only helped shut down Howard, he scored 23 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked two shots.
As for the Rockets’ Harden, he scored 33 points on 11 of 23 shooting. He did his part for Houston (34-34), Howard did not.