HOUSTON – When Chris Paul is dishing out 15 assists, throwing the ball at the rim for DeAndre Jordan to slam it home, teams are going to be in trouble.
When J.J. Redick is drilling four consecutive 3-pointers to open the game, forcing defenses to change on the fly, teams are going to be in trouble.
When Paul Pierce has bounce in his legs, when Wesley Johnson breaks out of a slump and Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers hit their shots too, teams are going to be in trouble.
And, when Luc Mbah a Moute scores 12 points … well, there might not be a word for that.
Mbah a Moute was one of seven Clippers to score in double figures Wednesday in a relatively easy 122-106 win over the Houston Rockets.
Coach Doc Rivers likes to say that if Redick is getting open shots, the offense is working. But if defensive specialist Mbah a Moute is scoring like he did Wednesday?
“It means that they’re trapping all over the floor; that’s what it means,” Rivers said.
Houston had no choice but to scramble after the Clippers’ hot start.
Redick hit his first five shots – four of them from 3-point range. Jordan, who was dominant throughout, soared for back-to-back lobs as the Clippers scored a season-high 72 points in the first half.
A day after the second unit struggled in a 21-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs, they starred in opening a huge lead in Houston.
“That’s growth,” Austin Rivers said.
And, they showed more of that in the fourth quarter.
If there’s a team in the NBA that should be familiar with the Rockets’ ability to put together a comeback, it’s the Clippers.
They saw it in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals a year ago, and they saw it again Wednesday. Only instead of panicking or tightening up, the Clippers absorbed the run and kept executing
The Clippers led by 24 early in the fourth quarter before Houston started hitting shots and the Clippers started committing defensive mistakes.
The Rockets hit four in a row from 3-point range during a rally that cut that lead to 11 before Redick connected on his fifth 3-pointer of the game.
Maybe it was when he looked at his bank account, or maybe it was the endless string of fast-food dinners, but Jeff Ayres missed the NBA life. And he really felt it trying to get an exit-row seat on one of the countless Southwest flights he had to take.
And now that he’s signed with the Clippers for the rest of the season, he’s ready to get back on the road.
“I haven’t been on the (team) plane yet, but I can’t wait until tomorrow,” Ayres said.
The Clippers added Ayres in the roster spot that previously belonged to Alex Stepheson, who signed with Memphis after his second 10-day contract with the Clippers expired.
Ayres appeared in five games with the Clippers earlier this season.
“I just like his energy, I like his knowledge. He’s a great guy to have on the bench. He’s happy when he plays, he’s happen when he doesn’t play. And he knows how to play multiple positions,” Rivers said. “He’s been in a lot of big games in his life and whether he’s played or he was sitting there, he’s witnessed them and he’s been in some of them, so I like guys like that.”
The Clippers also recalled second-year guard C.J. Wilcox from the NBA’s Developmental League.
The Clippers weren’t exactly radio homeless when their flagship, KFWB/980 was sold and eventually converted to a foreign-language station.
The games continued to be broadcast on the station after the format switch while the team looked for a new partner.
Wednesday, the Clippers found one.
Beginning with their game at Memphis on Saturday, the Clippers can be heard on KLAC/570. It’s a multiyear deal.
Brian Siemen will remain the play-by-play broadcaster.
When conflicts arise due to Dodgers broadcasts, Clippers games will be on KEIB/1150.
Former Clipper Josh Smith finds himself out of Houston’s rotation, sitting out his sixth straight game Wednesday despite being available to play.
“Josh is taking care of his body right now and working to get himself healthy,” Houston coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “When he got here, it had been a while since he played. We kind of thrust him into a position and made him play, and his body wasn’t prepared for it at that time. So he’s taking his time to get his body prepared so he can help us down the stretch.”
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