Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers
7:30 p.m. PT
Fox Sports West and League Pass
KFWB 980 AM
1. Fact or Fiction: Getting Chauncey Billups back will be a real help.
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: Fact. Despite his shenanigans against the Warriors, Billups may very well be the Clippers’ top perimeter defender. They’ll need his on-court leadership, 3-point shooting, defense and added depth to defeat a tough Rockets team.
Charlie Widdoes, ClipperBlog: Fact. The Rockets feature no fewer than seven wings that play 13 or more minutes per game. Chauncey’s ability to stretch the floor helps the first unit, but also gives the reserves more ammunition to counter Houston’s deep perimeter attack.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: Fact. Chauncey might have struggled against Ginobili and forced some shots, but he’s better on both ends than Randy Foye.
2. Fact or Fiction: The Clippers’ defensive improvements on Sunday will carry forward.
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: Fact. I think (or hope) the Portland game was a turning point for the Clippers — it was their only impressive defensive effort of the season. The addition of getting Billups back, adding depth and defense in the second unit in Solomon Jones and a confidence boost from the Blazers win should do the trick.
Charlie Widdoes, ClipperBlog: Fiction. The Rockets are 9th in the league in eFG% and don’t figure to miss many of the open looks that Portland did. Like LaMarcus Aldridge, Luis Scola is extremely skilled and figures to give the Clippers’ frontline fits and I don’t see a defender that matches up well with Kevin Martin and Houston’s bevy of shooters.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: Fiction. Assuming Kevin Martin doesn’t have another terrible
shooting night, the Clippers are going to be going up against one of the (so far) best offensive teams in the NBA in Houston. Between crafty post-scorer Scola and a focus on 3-point shooting, the Clippers could be in trouble against Houston’s offense.
3. Fact or Fiction: The Clippers will have a winning record on Thursday morning.
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: Fact. I say this with hesitation, as I can see how the Rockets could wreak havoc and give the Clips a lot of problems. However, I don’t see them having an answer defensively for Paul or Griffin, and with an improved defensive effort, L.A. wins.
Charlie Widdoes, ClipperBlog: Fact. The Clippers rank last in the league in Rebound Rate, but the Rockets aren’t much better at 23rd. For all its depth on the perimeter, Houston should have its hands full with Blake and DeAndre. Unless one or both get into foul trouble, I expect a breakout on the glass and a Clipper win.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: Fact. In the end, this game is going to come down to if the
Clippers can limit Kevin Martin/Kyle Lowry, and if Houston can limit Blake Griffin. Chuck Hayes is no longer a Rocket, and Kevin Martin has struggled enough recently for the Clips to get away with even a decent Kyle Lowry game. If Chris Paul does a decent job on Lowry and Blake does good work on whoever guards him, I say the Clippers come out with a win.