The Los Angeles Clippers bounced back from a heartbreaking Game 2 loss and humiliated the Houston Rockets, 124-99, in Game 3.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul returned to the court. While he only played 23 minutes, his presence was clearly felt as the Clippers dominated the Rockets from start to finish.
Paul scored 12 points with three rebounds and seven assists in his triumphant return to the court.
The Rockets were able to keep it somewhat close at the end of the first half after shooting guard James Harden made a buzzer-beating two-point shot.
They were also able to trim the Clippers’ lead to 81-76 in the third quarter, but their wheels completely fell off as the Clippers went on an 18-0 run to close out the quarter.
Paul made his second three-pointer of the night in the third quarter to prove that he can tough it out with an injured hamstring.
Clippers guard Austin Rivers put on a career-best performance as he scored 15 points in the third quarter, and he even drew chants of his name from Clippers fans.
He put the icing on the cake with this shot after receiving a perfect pass from shooting guard Jamal Crawford and drawing the foul to give the Clippers a 20-point lead.
The Clippers continued to own the Rockets in the fourth quarter, and they extended their lead to 32 points before both teams eventually pulled their starters.
With eight minutes left in the fourth, Rockets guard Jason Terry received a technical foul for a cheap shot on Clippers power forward Blake Griffin and was ejected from the game.
The Clippers offense was nearly flawless as they collectively shot 55.4 percent from the field and 44.9 percent from the three-point line.
Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick set a career high for points in a playoff game with 31 while shooting 11-for-14.
Rivers added 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting with six rebounds. Griffin scored 22 points while grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing out four assists although he committed seven turnovers.
Center DeAndre Jordan only scored six points, but he led all players in rebounds with 15. Crawford added 12 points and six steals.
For the Rockets, Harden led the team with 25 points and 11 assists. However, many of his points came in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach, and he turned the ball over five times.
Center Dwight Howard added 14 points with 14 rebounds while continuing to shoot poorly from the free-throw line, as he shot 4-for-11.
The Rockets shot 39.8 percent from the field as a team in an uncharacteristically poor offensive performance.
Small forwards Trevor Ariza and Josh Smith both struggled as they shot a combined 6-for-19 while scoring only 17 points together.
Power forward Terrence Jones struggled greatly with his rebounding as he only grabbed two boards.
The Rockets’ defensive woes continued to weigh them down too, and they will have to face the Clippers in Los Angeles once again in Game 4. They have not allowed less than 109 points in this series.
Paul returning only made life more difficult for the Rockets, and he is expected to be even more dangerous, assuming he can continue to regain his health.