LOS ANGELES (AP) — J.J. Redick scored 19 of his 26 points in the first half to lead seven players in double figures, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat Houston 137-118 Monday night, handing the Rockets their first loss of the season in Dwight Howard’s return to Staples Center.
Chris Paul added 23 points and 17 assists, Jamal Crawford had 21 points, and Blake Griffin scored 18 for the Clippers, who led the entire game and tied a franchise record with 78 points in the first half.
Howard finished with 13 points and nine rebounds after getting roundly booed in his first game in Los Angeles since leaving the Lakers and signing with Houston in the NBA’s biggest free agent move last summer.
Jared Dudley added 15 points and DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who have won five in a row against Houston at home and three straight overall.
Coming off a sprained left ankle, Omri Casspi led seven Houston players in double figures with 19 points off the bench. James Harden added 15 points, and Chandler Parsons had 14, along with Jeremy Lin and Francisco Garcia. The Rockets fell to 3-1.
The Clippers turned the final seven minutes into Lob City, with Paul orchestrating back-to-back, alley-oop passes to Jordan and Griffin that ended in dunks. They were part of a 15-5 run that stretched the Clippers’ lead to 129-108.
The Rockets controlled the start of the fourth, but got no closer than nine points. That was as close as they got four times in the third.
The Clippers led 78-66 at halftime. They shot 59 percent from the floor and made 19 of 22 free throws. Redick shot 6 of 9 and made all six of his free throws in the half.
Howard picked up three fouls in the first quarter. Griffin also had three fouls by halftime, including two in an 11-second span just before halftime.
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