Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets
March 30, 2013
5:00 p.m. PST
FOX Prime Ticket
3-Seed Western Conference Standings Check:
Denver Nuggets, 50-24
L.A. Clippers, 49-24, 0.5 GB
Memphis Grizzlies, 48-24, 1 GB
This could be it. One more win and the Clippers clinch their first 50-win season in franchise history. We’re at the point of Buffalo Braves records now. Tonight could finally be the night we see a team named the Clippers actually hold the Clipper franchise record for most wins. Now onto 3-on-3:
1. The Rockets made 13 threes the first time they played the Clippers, but only five in the second matchup. Which Houston team will show up Saturday?
Michael Pina, Red94, (@MichaelVPina): James Harden didn’t play in that second matchup, and he’s one of the five best offensive players in basketball. So there’s a good chance the Rockets get back to their three-point shooting ways in the third matchup.
Andrew Han, (@andrewthehan): In the last 21 games, Houston is averaging 30.2 three-point attempts per game and is making 11.4 per game (37.7%). Coupled with the Clippers’ beyond the arc defensive woes and being the fourth game in five nights, it’s probably safer to expect a hot shooting Rockets team.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): With their blitzkrieg pace and machine-gun three-point shooting, the Rockets are about as high variance as teams get. Both Houston and L.A. came up short last night, so they’ll both be tired and hungry for a win. That said, it takes less energy to shoot corner threes than it does to rotate and guard them. So, yeah, the Rockets make more than five tonight.
2. Better second-round pick: Chandler Parsons or DeAndre Jordan?
Pina: Grading them as players, it’s a toss up. Chandler Parsons can stretch the floor, operate a pick-and-roll, and have a positive affect on the game without the ball in his hands, while DeAndre Jordan is a seven-footer who creates the type of problems seven-footers tend to create. But when it’s phrased as “better second-round pick” I can’t help but bring financial implications into the discussion. Parsons is one of the two or three best bargains in the league. Including this season Jordan is owed $33 million until his contract expires in 2015, and he doesn’t even close games.
Han: Chandler Parsons. If this is based off two year’s of experience, Parsons has contributed to his team far more than DeAndre by year two. If we’re projecting over the career, big men traditionally take longer to develop (and also need minutes). I’m not a soothsayer.
James: I love how DJ has played lately, but it’s Chandler Parsons. He’s shown significant improvement in year two, and — more importantly — his coach trusts him. Both players have started every game this year (rare for second round picks) but Chandler’s stroke and all-around skill-set make him a dream as a role player.
3. The Clips are going for the season sweep against the Rockets. Do they get it?
Pina: Probably. The Rockets will have serious issues in the Blake Griffin vs. Inexperienced Power Forward X matchup, and unless they can defend the three-point line and get back in transition, their overall defense has no chance at stopping the Clippers.
Han: No. It’s the fourth game in five nights and the team the Clippers play the night before is the San Antonio Spurs. It’s something I’m happy to be wrong about, but chalk it up as a schedule loss.
James: After last night’s close-but-no-cigar effort in San Antonio, they sure as heck need it. If the Clippers can limit Houston’s three-point shooting (which is a big if) and win the battle for points in the paint, then they’ll come home victorious — and a respectable, if less than stellar, 2-2 on their last big road trip of the season.