Game 68: Houston Rockets Vs. Los Angeles Clippers Preview

What an effort by the Houston Rockets Monday night!

We shattered franchise records for point-margins galore, we saw the young guys have fun and even a t-shirt toss by the starters as their work was already done early in as the Rockets cruised to a 130-81 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

We certainly kicked a man while he was down as the Grizzlies are extremely depleted with a smorgasbord of injuries but the Rockets did what they were supposed to — win the damn game.

It’s an intense playoff race in the West and the Rockets have the opportunity to go as high as the 5th seed because it’s clearly obvious the Grizz are fading…and fast.

But they’ll be truly tested by the 42-24 Los Angeles Clippers tonight, which is always one of my favorite match ups!

They’ll give 100 percent intensity and we won’t be disappointed.

I think we’ll even be able to squeak out a win on our home court tonight as well.

We’ll see.

So who’s leading the charge for the Clippers?

Chris Paul is the leading scorer (19.9 PPG), assist man (9.8 APG) and steals king (2.20 SPG).  DeAndre Jordan is the team’s top board-getter (14.0 RPG) and the premier shot-blocker (2.30 BPG).

Let’s talk about what the Clippers do well.

They’re a well-balanced team.  The Clippers are 6th in the league in offensive efficiency, scoring 106.0 points per 100 possessions.  On the other hand, the Clippers are ranked 7th in defensive efficiency, allowing 101.1 points per 100 possessions.

They take care of the basketball.  The Clippers are tied for 3rd in the league — with the New Orleans Pelicans — as far as turnover ratio with a stingy 12.1 percent of their possessions ending in a turnover.

They’re great shooters.  The Clippers are ranked 4th in effective field goal percentage (52.0) and tied for 5th — with the Cleveland Cavaliers —  in true shooting percentage (55.3).

Injuries:

Terrence Jones did not make the five-game road trip with the Rockets as he was still recovering from an upper respiratory infection.  He has recovered but is still inactive.  With our depth having improved with Michael Beasley and Donatas Motiejunas in the fold, he’ll likely stay that way for the time being.

Sam Dekker‘s back is acting up on him again as he has had some tightness occur.  He was held out of practice yesterday and I’d likely rule him as DOUBTFUL for tonight.

Paul Pierce has been dealing with toe injury for a couple of games and has missed time as a result.  I’d project that he’ll likely be OUT for tonight.

Blake Griffin is recovering from his hand/quad injuries but is definitely behind schedule.  There’s still no solid timetable for his return and he’ll definitely be OUT tonight.

Sources:  Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Mark Berman of FOX26 (KRIV), Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com and Dan Woike of the OC Register.

Three Things to Watch:

  1. Patrick Beverley vs. Chris Paul
  2. Dwight Howard vs. DeAndre Jordan
  3. James Harden vs. J.J. Redick

Prediction:

109-106 in a Rockets’ win!

The Rockets are back at home to take on the Clippers at Toyota Center.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CST.

The game will be televised on ESPN/ROOT Sports Southwest and broadcast on SportsTalk 790 AM (KBME) and La Ranchera 850 AM (KEYH) in Spanish.

Go Rockets!