On Wednesday night, there were 22 other NBA teams playing in addition to the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets. The Clippers’ 46 first quarter points in a 106-96 win over the Rockets at the Staples Center were higher than the first half totals of 13 of those teams.
The Clippers accomplished the feat with a torrid 17-of-22 shooting performance, a 77.3 field goal percentage. That total also included 6-of-8 from three-point range.
It was the second highest quarter recorded in franchise history. The team logged 47 first quarter points against the San Antonio Spurs on March 7, 1986. In addition, the 46-point first quarter is the highest recorded thus far in the current 2012-13 season.
Clippers forward Caron Butler had 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting in that first quarter alone. Butler missed the Clippers’ previous contest against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night due to a sore back. He went on to finish with 19 points, four assists and two steals.
“Caron really got us off to a good start and did a good job defensively, which was good to see,” said Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro.
Needless to say, the Rockets could’ve used the services of All-Star guard James Harden, the NBA’s fifth highest scorer per game. Harden did not play Wednesday night due to a tweaked right ankle against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.
The big first quarter propelled the Clippers to a 69-49 halftime lead, which allowed them to coast for much of the second half. The Rockets showed poise by outscoring the Clippers 47-37 in the second half, but the Clippers’ first half advantage was insurmountable.
"It was like they were playing H-O-R-S-E," said Rockets head coach Kevin McHale. "We had no presence defensively."
Clippers point guard Chris Paul had 10 points and 11 assists. Blake Griffin added 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Chauncey Billups contributed 19 points.
"They came out on fire and we didn't do a good job of making it difficult for them," said Lin. "Once they got in a rhythm, it just kind of snowballed at least in the first quarter."