The Clippers take on the lowly Rockets in another road game without several starters. Keep reading for a full game preview of the Clippers’ faceoff against the Rockets.
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
When: 5:00 PM PT
How to Watch: Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Terance Mann – Paul George
– Marcus Morris – Ivica Zubac
Rockets: John Wall – Armoni Brooks – Jae’Sean Tate – Kelly
Olynyk – Christian Wood
Clippers: Pat Beverley Out (Hand), Serge Ibaka Out (Back), Kawhi Leonard Out (Foot), Rajon Rondo Questionable (Wrist)
Rockets: Danuel House Probable (Ankle), Kevin
Porter Jr. Out (Health Protocols), DJ Augustin Out (Ankle),
Sterling Brown Out (Knee), David Nwaba Out (Wrist), Dante Exum Out
(Calf), Eric Gordon Doubtful (Groin)
The Big Picture
Despite winning nine of their last 10 games and being the
hottest team in the NBA since the All Star Break, the Clippers seemingly haven’t
made much progress in the standings. That’s because, unfortunately, the Suns
have been nearly as hot as them, while the Nuggets have surged as well. The Jazz
have stumbled a bit recently, but had such a big lead that they’re still several
However, the standings don’t fully reflect the state of the Clippers right now – that of a team that appears to be clicking on all levels. The defense has been excellent for over a month now, the offense is still playing at a historic level, and the Clippers are getting contributions from up and down their roster. From superstar performances from Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to heroic efforts by the battling Canoes, the Clippers are just able to get what they need, when they need it. The Clippers are fun, they’re good, and despite some injury issues, they’re setting up for a nice stretch run before the playoffs.
The Rockets are atrocious. After starting the year as a mostly mediocre squad (10-11), they have won only five of their last 36 games – you need to try to be that bad. And, sure enough, the Rockets are not trying terribly hard to win games. Many of their long-time veterans have been traded, and a lot of guys who could provide them with competent minutes are out with injury. After a good start to the year, John Wall has reverted to some of his bad habits, and has become more of a chucker, pressing to win games. Christian Wood is very good, but he’s not nearly at the level to get a bad team to mediocrity, so outside of an occasional dominant performance by him or Wall, the Rockets simply aren’t winning games. Their roster is mostly very young undrafted players or second-round picks, and they play like it.
Paul George Sizzling: Paul George has had a great season,
but has turned his game to a next level in the month of April. In nine games
this month, PG is averaging 29.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.2 assists while shooting
51.6% from the field, 45.7% from deep, and 89.1% from the line. In short, he’s
been an absolute flamethrower while still chipping in other areas outside of
scoring. While he’s had too many inconsistent stretches, missed too many games,
and just generally not been quite good enough to be in the MPV conversation, he’s
certainly worked his way back into a lock for an All-NBA spot. When PG is
playing like this, there just aren’t many better players in the NBA.
Cousins Revenge Game: It’s odd to think that DeMarcus Cousins was on the Rockets earlier this year. At one point, there was a lot of hype around him reuniting with his Kentucky teammate John Wall. Alas, the best laid plans of men often go awry, and such was Cousins’ stint on the Rockets. He probably wasn’t there long enough to develop too much of a bond, but still, players usually go just a bit harder against former teams, especially recent ones, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Cousins came out aggressive in this one.
That about does it for this preview of the Clippers’ game against the Rockets. Comment on the game below!