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Clippers vs. Rockets preview and game thread: Next game up

Rolling Clippers face reeling Rockets.

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Clippers have won 10 of their last 11 games and will aim to keep that run going, when they take on the last-place team in the Western Conference in the Houston Rockets on Friday evening in Houston.

I would say you never know what will happen, and that’s true, but to be fair Houston have lost seven of their last eight. On paper, this is very much an unstoppable force against a very-much-moveable object.

Game Information

When: Friday, April 23 at 5 p.m. PT

Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal

Opposing perspective: The Dream Shake

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers (42-19): Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Paul George, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr.

Rockets (15-44): Jae’Sean Tate, Kelly Olynyk, Christian Wood, Armoni Brooks, John Wall


Clippers: Rajon Rondo (wrist) — QUESTIONABLE; Patrick Beverley (right knee), Serge Ibaka (lower back), Kawhi Leonard (foot) — OUT

Rockets: Danuel House Jr. (ankle) — PROBABLE; Kevin Porter Jr. (protocols), Sterling Brown (knee), DJ Augustin (ankle), Eric Gordon (groin), David Nwaba (wrist), Dante Exum — OUT

The Clippers are coming off a back-to-back sweep on Tuesday and Wednesday, over the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively. Paul George was the star in Portland, with his clutch play down the stretch, but he took a seat against Memphis and Luke Kennard led the way, with even 10-day contract guys like DeMarcus Cousins and Yogi Ferrell making major impacts down the stretch in Wednesday’s win.

Kawhi Leonard has been shut down for a week and he won’t feature in this game, but George and Reggie Jackson, who was also rested against the Grizzlies, could return against the Rockets. Rajon Rondo is day-to-day with a wrist issue. I would say expect them back, but I get the feeling Ty Lue is enjoying this stretch of, ahem, favorable matchups and is challenging as many of the guys on the roster to performa as possible. Right now, it’s working and he may continue that trend in Houston.

The Rockets are pretty much playing out the string at this point but still have the likes of Christian Wood and John Wall to make some nights pretty interesting. Wall missed the Rockets’ game against the Clippers earlier this month, but in addition to the team just struggling this season, the Rockets are also dealing Kevin Porter Jr. getting busted violating COVID protocols at a strip club and Sterling Brown, already out injured, being beaten by strangers during the same visit to that strip club and needing to go to the hospital.

So maybe the Rockets show up to work or maybe they show up with some YOLO energy and give the Clippers a game, who knows. But the Clippers have set the bar high and their next task is to maintain that rhythm as the playoffs approach, no matter who steps out onto the court.

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