The start of the season is going so well for the LA Clippers as they get set to take on the Houston Rockets in the second game of a home back-to-back.

Game Information

Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA

When: 7:30 PM PT

How to Watch: Clippervision, KTLA

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Terrance Mann – Paul George, Marcus Morris – Ivica Zubac

Rockets: Jalen Green – Kevin Porter Jr. – Eric Gordon – Jabari Smith Jr. – Alperen Sengun

Injury Report

Clippers: Kawhi Leonard out (injury management), John Wall out (injury management), Robert Covington out (health and safety protocols).

Rockets: Bruno Fernando out (left knee), TyTy Washington out (left knee).

The Big Picture

What has gone right for the Clippers to start this season? Not a whole lot. The Lakers and Kings games came right down to the wire and it’s not inconceivable to believe that the Clippers could’ve been looking down the barrel of an 0-6 hole.

The team just looks lost on the court and can’t sustain any kind of consistent play. In their latest loss against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, they played inspired basketball for one half. As has been the case this season, the third quarter doomed the Clippers. The Pelicans used that momentum to carry over into the fourth quarter and the Clippers ended up losing by double-digits.

Even with the absences in the lineup, the Clippers have too much talent on this team to be playing this poorly. All that vaunted depth that was lauded in the off-season has not been a factor at all. The Clippers are in the bottom-five in the league in three-point percentage and with those threes not falling, they can’t seem to generate any easy offense.

Rebounding continues to be an issue and that may largely be due to the Clippers not having any competent centers behind Ivica Zubac. There’s only so much small-ball can take you. The Clippers also play a guard-heavy lineup and that also is a major factor in the rebounding woes.

Turnovers also continue to plague the Clippers. They are leading the NBA in turnovers per game at 17.5.

Tyronn Lue was understandably not pleased following the Pelicans loss and hinted at major changes if things don’t improve. The way this team is playing right now, no game should be seen as a easy game. This team can be beaten by anyone and they just don’t resemble a good basketball team.

The Antagonist

The Houston Rockets come to town not doing much better than the Clippers at 1-6. There’s a difference though. The Rockets are fully emerged in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. They also have some very good young talent that makes them exciting to watch at times, something the Clippers have not been this season.

The Rockets are a poor defensive team though. They rank near the bottom of the league in defensive rating. This game does represent the kind of game that the Clippers can use to get back on track. They should be able to score against this team.

But again, this is a young team that plays loose and has nothing to lose. It feels like all of these games are like trap games for the Clippers. The Clippers need to come out with the same type of energy and assertiveness they did against the Pelicans in the first half. They need to be able to sustain that though.

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