Feb 26, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) runs the ball up the court against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

After extending their winning streak to five on Thursday night, the Houston Rockets now look to keep on winning down the stretch. Tonight, there will be a challenge in store when they face the Los Angeles Clippers. The Houston Rockets are 0-3 vs. the Clippers this year. Can they at least get one win against them this season?

Matchups

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Chris Paul

Without Patrick Beverley, Jeremy Lin will have to step up big time against spectacular point guards like Chris Paul. Lin has to keep the turnovers down and play decent defense. We wouldn’t mind scoring as well! On the other side, there’s an “elite” point guard by the name of Chris Paul. Paul is basically the anchor for his team. In order to stop him, Lin will have to stick with him all night long and force him to take contested shots, or perhaps pass it to another player. I still think Chris Paul has his way with the Rockets tonight.

Edge: Clippers

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Darren Collison

Darren Collison has the speed, but can he stick with Harden? Absolutely not. Expect Harden to draw a double team. If the Clippers don’t find a way to stop “The Beard”, they may be in for a long night. Darren Collison can hit open shots however. Look at last game in Los Angeles. Collison came alive late and led the Clippers to victory in that game. Still. Harden vs. Collison. No question, this has all of the makings of an exciting matchup.

Edge: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Matt Barnes

This may be a closer matchup then most fans would think. Chandler Parsons seems to be breaking out of his “shooting slump”, that he’s been dealing with the last few games. The best way to end a shooting slump is to “slash” to the rim more. With a little more confidence, he’s been able to find shot from behind the arc. Parsons also brings defense. For the Clippers, they have Matt Barnes. Barnes is a decent shooter, and also contributes on defense. With all of that said, don’t expect him to get a lot of touches tonight. Factoring all of that in, Parsons’ is sure to be on point tonight, and sticking it to Barnes.clips

Edge: Rockets

Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Blake Griffin

I hope this is not the matchup. When Jones was guarding Griffin, he was in for a long night. When Asik came in to guard him, he held him down a bit. Expect Omer to guard Blake Griffin, and Terrence Jones to guard DeAndre Jordan. When we talk about offense, both Griffin and Jones can score. I have to give the advantage to Blake Griffin however. He has had a very good season thus far, and continues to dominate on the offensive end and contributes on defense. I hope that whoever guards Griffin is ready. If they aren’t, it’s going to be a long night.

Edge: Clippers

Center: Omer Asik vs. DeAndre Jordan

With Dwight Howard going to be out for at least 10 days. Omer Asik has to step up. Asik has been solid on defense, but continues to struggle when he gets the ball down low. Asik has to finish, when he gets the ball down low, or this is a lost cause. DeAndre Jordan is much better finisher, and knows how to work the boards. I honestly don’t see these guys getting involved that much on offense, other than playing clean up. Ask and Jordan will have a bigger impact on defense. Asik is too suspect under the rim, so this gives the Clippers a slight edge.

Edge: Clippers

Bench

Houston Rockets – Donatas Motiejunas, Jordan Hamilton, Omri Casspi, and Isaiah Canaan

Los Angeles Clippers – Glen Davis, Jared Dudley, Willie Green, Jamal Crawford, Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Hollins, and Reggie Bullock

Edge – Clippers due to depth

Injuries

Houston Rockets – Patrick Beverley (OUT) Dwight Howard (OUT) Greg Smith (OUT) Francisco Garcia (OUT)

Los Angeles Clippers – Danny Granger (OUT)

Prediction

Without Patrick Beverley and Dwight Howard, this game is going to be extremely hard. Since the game is being played on the Rockets’ home floor, that is always a plus. I’m sure the crowd will bring the energy. Although I hope the Rockets come out on top, I don’t see it happening. I got the Clippers winning 111-95.

The game is being televised on CSN Houston and NBA TV. Sadly, it is blacked out on NBA TV for Houston-area viewers. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm CST.

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