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Clippers vs. Rockets Preview: We’re back, baybee

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Preseason basketball has arrived.

2019-20 LA Clippers Media Day Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Information:

Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, HI

When: 10:00 PST

TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, NBA TV

Projected Starting Lineups:

LA Clippers: Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder, Moe Harkless, Ivica Zubac

Houston Rockets: James Harden, Eric Gordon, Danuel House Jr., P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela

Injuries:

Clippers: Paul George — OUT (shoulders), Kawhi Leonard — OUT (scheduled rest)

Rockets: Anthony Bennett — OUT (not with team, left knee soreness), Michael Frazier — OUT (right ankle sprain), Nene — OUT (not with team, adductor), Russell Westbrook — OUT (scheduled rehab), Shamorie Ponds — OUT (left quad contusion)

The Big Picture:

The Clippers open their preseason against the Rockets minus their two biggest additions of the summer. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will both be out as LA begins its most anticipated season in recent memory. Nonetheless, there is much to look forward to even without Leonard and George on the floor. The Clippers are still searching for a fifth starter to play alongside their star wings, Patrick Beverley, and Ivica Zubac. Each of Landry Shamet, Moe Harkless, and even Rodney McGruder (though less likely of an option) will have a chance to make their case. This is also the first look at new additions Moe Harkless, Patrick Patterson and rookies Mfiondu Kabengele and Terance Mann. There has been oodles of hype surrounding Mann, a second-round pick, and how he factors into the Clippers’ search for a backup point guard within their own roster.

The Antagonist:

The Rockets will also be without their most high-profile acquisition of the summer, as Russell Westbrook gets some scheduled rest (not unlike Leonard) before the start of what hopes to be a long season. Houston began its preseason with a win against the Shanghai Sharks that was probably most notable for James Harden debuting his new move, the one leg challenge. He missed, Kelsey Plum did not. The Rockets will likely be one of the Clippers’ primary contenders atop the Western Conference, but don’t expect to glean too much out of this matchup.

What to watch for:

  • Hawaiian dress shirts? This isn’t the Maui Invitational, but ideally the preseason would lend itself to a less strict dress code than regular-season games. It’s not like the NBA really enforces its dress code, anyway. Maybe Doc Rivers and Co. embrace the local culture a little.
  • A little ironic that the Clippers open the preseason in the most beautiful part of the United States against the team that plays perhaps the ugliest brand of basketball.
  • It’s always fun when Doc Rivers gets to coach against his son Austin, especially when Austin seems to embrace the familial rivalry.