It’s not exactly a homecoming for Dwight Howard, but the former Laker will accompany his Houston Rockets into Staples Center on Monday night. The Clippers then play three on the road: Wednesday in Orlando, Thursday in Miami and Saturday in Houston.
The week behind
The Clippers recovered from their season-opening loss to the Lakers by beating the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings on back-to-back nights, a tough feat this early in the season.
Record and standings
At 2-1, the Clippers ended the week a half-game behind the Phoenix Suns in the Pacific Division and trailed the unbeaten Rockets (3-0) by one game in the Western Conference.
It’s unlikely guard Chris Paul has ever had a better week. He had three double-doubles against the Lakers, Warriors and Kings, and his 42-point, 15-assist performance against Golden State was epic. Paul heads into the new week leading the NBA in scoring average (27.7 points) and is shooting 51 percent. He’s also first in assists (12.0), a spot he should own.
Darren Collison, Paul’s backup at point guard, won’t get significant time on the floor this season, but he’s got to make his minutes count. So far, he and the Clippers’ second unit have struggled. In the past two games, Collison is a combined 1 for 7 shooting in 23 minutes.
Player to watch
Paul was a preseason choice among some NBA watchers to win the league’s MVP award, and he’s currently justifying the pick. Paul leads the league in scoring and assists, is third in steals and already is demonstrating an ability to take over a game in the fourth quarter. That’s what MVPs do.
Stat of the week
Paul’s stat line against the Warriors would be the easy pick, but you can’t ignore the Clippers’ free-throw shooting Saturday night against the Kings. After missing 10 foul shots in each of their first two games, they were 28 of 34 in Sacramento, including 8 of 8 by Blake Griffin and 4 of 6 by DeAndre Jordan. To win the West, the Clippers will have to shoot consistently from the line.
“I’m telling you, when people think you’ve got a shot at it, everybody wants to knock you off. That’s just the way it’s going to be, and at the end of the day, that will be good for us.” – Doc Rivers