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Preview and Game Thread: Clippers look to build on winning streak, take on Rockets

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Watch at 5 p.m. on TNT.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Preview

The Clippers will look to add to their five-game winning streak, as they’ll take on the Houston Rockets for the fourth and final match of the season. Houston has gotten the best of the Clippers so far, having taken two of the first three contests.

Though the Clips lost by nine in the first game, it was wire-to-wire until the final minutes. LA trailed by two with two minutes remaining, but ice-cold shooting and questionable calls helped the Rockets put up 12 points in under two minutes. James Harden led the way, scoring nearly half of Houston’s point total, as he finished with 47.

The second game offered a photo-finish as well, as it came down to the final two minutes. With 60 seconds remaining in the game, LA trailed by five points. Over the final minute, the Clippers went on a 10-2 run, thanks to 3’s from Lou Williams and Paul George. Kawhi Leonard also hit the go-ahead shot with 15 seconds remaining.

Just like the first two matchups, the third didn’t disappoint. The game was tied with under four minutes remaining. However, LA’s offense went ice cold, scoring only four points over the remaining four-and-a-half minutes, as they dropped the game by five points. Russell Westbrook finished with a game-high 40 points, though he went 13-31 from the field. He also added 10 rebounds and five assists.

This fourth matchup will be unlike the first three, as the Clippers will have a fully healthy roster. On the season, LA is undefeated (9-0) when they have everyone suited up. Both teams are playing really good ball as of late, as the Clips are riding a five-game winning streak, and Houston has won 10 of their last 13.

The Rockets are coming off arguably their worst loss of the season, as they fell to the Knicks 125-123 on Monday.

In addition to the Rockets seeing a new Clippers team, the Clippers will be seeing a brand-new Houston team. This will be the first time LA has seen Houston since they decided to go “small”, meaning running their offense with essentially no center. They spread the floor arguably better than anyone in the NBA, as they run a 6-foot-7 Danuel House Jr. at the center. Their defense has also improved, as they’re 10th in efficiency over their last 15 games.

Game Information

Where: Toyota Center — Houston, Texas

When: 5:00 p.m. PT

How to watch/listen: TNT, AM 570

Spread: Rockets -1

Over/Under: 237

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac

Rockets: Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Robert Covington, P.J. Tucker, Danuel House Jr.

Injuries

Clippers: None

Rockets: DeMarre Carroll (Questionable)

Links

  • Reggie Jackson has been great since joining the Clippers. Jovan Buha from The Athletic wrote a great piece on how it’s impacted Lou Williams
  • The Clippers viewed their victory against Oklahoma City as an example of why they’re confident to play either on Houston’s terms or set their own Thursday
  • Montrezl Harrell has become a defensive double-threat, read more about it here
  • Colin Cowherd predicts that the Clippers will win the NBA Championship