On Monday, the Clippers got back in the win column against the Rockets—thanks to the heroics of Paul George. On Wednesday, they will take on the same opponent, but with a change of venue. Check out our preview of the Clippers’ rematch with the Houston Rockets, this time in Houston, below:
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
When: 5:00 PM PT
How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Luke Kennard – Paul George – Marcus Morris, Sr. – Ivica Zubac
Rockets: Jalen Green – Kevin Porter, Jr. – Eric Gordon – Jabari Smith, Jr. – Alperen Şengün
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard, out (knee injury management); Robert Covington, out (H&SP)
Rockets: Bruno Fernando, out (knee soreness); Jae’Sean Tate, out (ankle soreness); Tyty Washington, Jr., out (knee sprain)
The Big Picture
Monday’s win was pretty important: even though it is still early in the season, a 2-5 record would have put the Clippers above only the Lakers and Rockets in the Western Conference. Now, at the very least, they are in the neighborhood of the Warriors and Timberwolves, who have also been inconsistent to start the season. That said, beating the Rockets just once is not enough to undo the Clippers’ recent skid.
As the Clippers try to start a winning streak, they will be re-joined by John Wall, who missed last game due for rest. Wall may in fact have an extra bit of motivation going into this game, given how his time as a Houston Rocket went. Regardless, his presence will be extremely welcome after Reggie Jackson had another tough game on Tuesday, shooting 2/11 from the field and 0/6 from the three, making questionable decisions on offense, and being too permeable on defense.
It will be interesting to see if Ty Lue changes the minutes distribution between the two. So far, Reggie is averaging seven more minutes per game than John, which might be primarily a consequence of John’s minutes restriction. But, as the season goes on, the restriction will eventually give way to the need for more consistent production from the point guard position.
Along with Wall being available, the Clippers should be able to put up a better shooting performance. Somehow, the Clippers were able to put together 95 points despite shooting 42% from the field and 25% from three. And everyone not named Paul George shot 15% from three. At some point, the Clippers’ shooting has to revert to the mean; hopefully, that’s on this road trip, starting on Wednesday in Houston.
While the Clippers shot poorly on Monday, the Rockets were not any better. They were 38.6% from the field and 28.6% from three, so it is entirely possible that the Rockets are more efficient as well. In fact, Monday was the first time the Rockets scored under 100 points this season, so the Clippers will likely need to score over 100 points themselves, which they have only done three times.
So far this season, there has been tremendous parity throughout the league. As the Clippers have learned, even teams that are allegedly tanking are liable to play with pride and upset “more talented” rosters. This is not the anyone-can-win-on-any-given-night NBA; so far, the expectation should be that you are the underdog every night, whether you are the Nets, Warriors, Heat, or Clippers.
That about does it for this preview of the Clippers’ game against the Rockets. As always, check out The Lob The Jam The Podcast and Clips ‘N Dip for analysis throughout the week, and follow us on Twitter to watch the game with us!