Clippers-Rockets Preview

The Associated Press

While the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Houston Rockets behind an offensive outpouring earlier this week, things haven't gone their way since.

Hoping to avoid a third consecutive loss, the visiting Clippers try to continue their recent success against the Rockets on Saturday night.

J.J. Redick scored 26 points and Chris Paul added 23 and 17 assists as Los Angeles (3-3) beat Houston 137-118 on Monday, posting its highest point total since March 2009. The Clippers shot a season-high 52.1 percent and scored 27 points off 16 turnovers.

"We couldn't get a handle on them at all," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "They did whatever they wanted. ... We've got them on Saturday, so we will see them again. It was one of those nights where they had it really rolling, and we couldn't find a rhythm defensively at all."

Los Angeles has had Houston's number of late, taking six of seven in the series while averaging 108.3 points.

"They've got a really potent offense," Rockets forward Chandler Parsons said. "They can hurt you inside, they can hurt you outside, and it's tough to stop both, especially when they're making shots.

"We just can't let them be comfortable. We've got to make them make tough shots."

Los Angeles, though, has struggled on its three-game road trip. One night after falling 98-90 to Orlando, the Clippers suffered a 102-97 defeat to Miami on Thursday.

Blake Griffin had 27 points and 14 rebounds, but Los Angeles allowed the Heat to shoot 53.5 percent.

"It's about coming out, running our game plan ... and sticking to our principles and not scattering," Griffin told the team's official website. "There's a learning curve.

"We'll play against teams that have been together for a long time, you know. The Heat, the Spurs, Oklahoma City, Golden State, they all have an advantage on us. They've had a year or two or more of playing their system and learning their system. We're always going to be a step behind that. But we can make up for that, especially on the defensive end with intensity and doing the little things."

Paul has posted a double-double in every game and had 11 points and 12 assists against the Heat, but he shot 3 of 11 and committed five turnovers.

"That's another thing that is on me," said Paul, averaging 22.5 points and 12.5 assists. "We have to go to Blake more. Like I said, I'll do better. Tonight it was me. I have to give Blake more touches and get the ball out of my hands."

Houston (4-2) has dropped two of three after Thursday's heartbreaking 99-98 loss to the Lakers. James Harden had 35 points, but the Rockets gave up the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left.

Facing his former team, Dwight Howard went 5 of 16 from the free-throw line and missed seven late foul shots. The Lakers fouled him intentionally down the stretch.

"Every loss hurts," Howard said. "Nobody likes to lose. It's very upsetting that we lost the way we did. ... There are a lot of things we need to work on."

Howard wasn't the only Rockets players to struggle from the line, as Houston went 33 of 52.

"He's going to be in a lot of games," McHale said of Howard, a career 57.6 percent foul shooter. "He made a couple. We're just going to have to make some free throws. It wasn't just Dwight tonight. ... We didn't shoot free throws very well and that doesn't help the cause."

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