LA Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan helped put a stop to dominance by Houston’s Dwight Howard

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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.

After flopping at San Antonio, Clippers bench shines at Houston

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Austin Rivers, center, of the Clippers battles with Houston’s James Harden and Dwight Howard during Wednesday’s game at Houston/AP photo by Pat Sullivan


The Clippers’ second unit took some heat after its rather lousy performance in Tuesday night’s 108-87 loss at San Antonio. In it, Clippers reserves scored only 20 points and shot just 6 of 22 from the field (27.2 percent). Spurs reserves scored 51 points.

But Wednesday, it was a different deal. The Clippers’ second unit scored 47 points and shot a combined 17 of 29 (58.6 percent) in their 122-106 win at Houston.

Struggling Wes Johnson shot 5 of 5, Austin Rivers was 4 of 8, Paul Pierce 3 of 6, Jamal Crawford 4 of 9 and Cole Aldrich made his only shot.

Starting point guard Chris Paul, who stuck up for the bench a night earlier, liked what he saw.

“They definitely challenged themselves,” Paul said. “Like we said, in San Antonio last night, we are a team and we stick together.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 122-106 victory at Houston

Houston Rockets interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, center, yells as Michael Beasley, left, faces the Clippers' Paul Pierce during Wednesday's game in Houston. The Clippers won 122-106. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Paul Pierce, right, of the Clippers is hounded by the Houston Rockets’ Michael Beasley as Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff looks on during Wednesday’s game at Houston//AP photo by Pat Sullivan


– You never know what can happen from one game to the next. In Tuesday’s loss at San Antonio, the bench stunk up the joint by scoring just 20 points while shooting a lousy 27.2 percent (6 of 22). The opposite happened in this one. Reserves scored 47 points and shot 17 of 29 (58.6 percent). Wes Johnson, who has been struggling mightily with his shot for some time, made 5 of 5 from the field.

– Fine game by DeAndre Jordan. He scored 23 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked two shots. He also made 7 of 13 from the free-throw line. For that, that’s good.

J.J. Redick had one of those games from deep. He shot 5 of 9 from beyond the arc and scored a team-high 25 points.

– Speaking of the reserves, Jamal Crawford’s performance had to put a smile on Doc Rivers’ face. Crawford shot just 1 of 9 at San Antonio and scored only six points. He scored 14 points in this one and made 4 of 9 from the field. Crawford also doled out seven assists.

– It’s interesting to note that while Jordan had a fine game for the Clippers (43-24), his counterpart – Dwight Howard – did not. Howard took just four shots – he made two – in nearly 33 minutes. He scored six points and grabbed only seven rebounds. Howard averages 14.8 points and 12.1 rebounds on the season for the Rockets (34-34).

Josh Smith’s stormy stay with Clippers over as he’s traded back to the Houston Rockets

Josh Smith traded from Clippers to Rockets

Josh Smith gets a rebound for the Clippers during a Nov. 7 game against the Houston Rockets as the Rockets’ Dwight Howard looks on at Staples Center/AP photo by Jae C. Hong


Josh Smith’s short and stormy stay with the L.A. Clippers is over. Smith was traded back to the Houston Rockets on Friday for the draft rights to Maarty Leunen, a 6-foot-9 forward who currently plays for Scandone Avellino of the Italian Serie A.

The Rockets also received the draft rights to forward  Sergei Lishouck and cash considerations. Lishouck currently plays for UCAM Murcia in Spain.

The Clippers acquired Smith – a forward who also played center for the team – during the off-season, signing him to the veterans’ minimum of $1,499,187. But Smith fell into disfavor when he didn’t play the way coach Doc Rivers wanted him to play. Smith also had a shouting match with assistant coach Mike Woodson after a game as well as an in-game verbal row with Rivers.

Through Thursday’s loss at Cleveland, Smith had not played in 10 of the past 14 games. He played 20 minutes in a Jan. 13 win over Miami and 19 in a loss to Sacramento this past Saturday, but that was because DeAndre Jordan missed those two games with pneumonia.

Smith spent the 2014-15 season playing first for Detroit and then with Houston. He scored 14 of his 19 points during the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, helping the Rockets overcome a 19-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Clippers 119-107 on May 14 at Staples Center. That sent the series back to Houston, where the Rockets defeated the Clippers 113-100 in Game 7 to advance to the conference finals, at the same time denying the Clippers their first trip to the conference finals in franchise history.

Smith is 30. He averaged 5.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 32 games with the Clippers; he started one. He has career scoring and rebounding averages of 16.2 and 8.3, respectively, but that’s at an average of 32.9 minutes. He averaged only 14.3 minutes with the Clippers.

J.J. Redick discusses his epic 40-point night in win over Rockets

Los Angeles Clipper J.J. Redick ,4, drives past Houston's Terrence Jones ,6, during the 1st quarter at the Staples Center.  Los Angeles, Calif., Monday, January,18, 2016.     

 (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

J.J. Redick goes up for one of his 19 shot attempts during Monday’s 140-132 overtime victory over the visiting Houston Rockets. Houston’s Terrence Jones defends/Staff photo by Stephen Carr


J.J. Redick scored a career-high 40 points on Monday. He shot 11 of 19 overall. But he was absolutely marvelous from 3-point range, where he made 9 of 12. Afterward, he was asked about the zone he was in with his shot.

“I do not know that it is the best I have felt shooting the ball,” he said. “I feel like I missed a couple mid-range shots I would have normally made. It was one of those games where neither team could get a stop. There were several players that were a beneficiary of that, myself included.”

Although the Rockets did not shot all that well from beyond the arc – 34.4 percent (11 of 32) – they did shoot 50 percent overall. The Clippers shot 51.6 percent overall, an almost-unbelievable 59.5 percent (22 of 37) from long-distance.

The 22 3-pointers were a franchise high and one shy of the NBA record.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 140-132 OT win over Rockets

Los Angeles Clipper J.J.  Redick ,4, celebrates his 9th three pointer in overtime against Huston, at the Staples Center.  The Clippers won 140-132.   Los Angeles, Calif., Monday, January,18, 2016.     

 (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

J.J. Redick celebrates one of his nine 3-point baskets in Monday’s 140-132 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets at Staples Center/Staff photo by Stephen Carr


– The Clippers made a franchise-record 22 3-pointers in this game, one shy of the NBA record. The Clippers shot 59.5 percent (22 of 27) from beyond the arc. Interestingly, their overall percentage was lower at 51.6.

– What a night for J.J. Redick. He scored a career-high 40 points. He made his first five 3-point attempts and eventually went 9 of 12 from beyond the arc. Redick is now shooting 50 percent (103 of 206) from long-distance, tops in the NBA. He’s shooting 48.9 percent overall.

– Considering he had missed the previous two games with pneumonia, DeAndre Jordan had himself a heck of a game. He scored 16 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and blocked two shots. Jordan played 41 minutes, second only to Chris Paul’s 41 1/2. Jordan also made 50 percent (4 of 8) of his free throws. For someone shooting 41.5 percent on the season, that’s not too shabby.

– Speaking of Chris Paul, he also had a terrific showing. He scored 28 points, doled out 12 assists, grabbed six rebounds and made six steals. He had five turnovers. But again, he played 41 1/2 minutes and he’s the point guard. No one’s perfect. Heck, he even blocked a shot.

– Other than giving up a 14-point lead with 4:17 to play that allowed the game to go into overtime, the only other real negative to this game for the Clippers was that they were outrebounded 51-42. Two things on that – the Clippers hardly ever outrebound an opponent, and Houston’s Dwight Howard had a whopping 26 boards.