Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets
5:00 p.m. PST
November 9, 2013
FOX Prime Ticket
1. We saw 255 combined points when these two teams played earlier this week. Do we come within 25 points of that Saturday?
Michael Pina, Red94, (@MichaelVPina): Sure. The Rockets have defense that’s slightly above average while the Clippers are ranked dead least in defensive rating. Both teams are yet to make any significant step forward on that end since the last time they faced off. (Although we should see some better effort out of Houston’s perimeter defenders.)
Andrew Han, (@andrewthehan): No. Harden is apparently day-to-day with a bruised foot and Patrick Beverly was out for the first meeting. Not that Beverly is the difference maker to the entire game, but it took outrageous scoring efforts from both teams. And that’s with mostly healthy teams.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): No. So much of the reason the Clippers scored at such a high rate the first time the Rockets and Clippers played was that the Houston defenders had particularly notable off days. Dwight Howard didn’t play great help and mostly, James Harden and the rest of the Rockets’ defenders looked like they were playing dead. That’ll be different Saturday.
2. What were the Clippers able to do against James Harden that made him struggle so much the first time the Clips and Rockets met?
Pina: I don’t know if it’s anything the Clippers did more than what James Harden did to himself. He’s an NBA shooting guard, and chasing other shooting guards off screens and shadowing them on back cuts is simply apart of the job description. In their first encounter he also logged his worst offensive performance of the season, but I’ll chalk that up to his uncharacteristically early foul trouble.
Han: Stay in front of him, don’t bite on pump fakes and make him work on the defensive end. With Paul, Redick and Crawford, there aren’t a lot of options to hide Harden defensively. The frustration on that end seemed to bleed over to his offensive performance and was exacerbated by the Clippers simply playing disciplined defense on him. Harden also has to have an off night.
Katz: It’s kind of hard to say the Clippers did much against Harden, in particular, to stop him. Defensively, it was a notably low-effort game. It almost looked like someone injected him with a tranquilizer gun before tip off. You’d have to imagine he would want to change that in his second game against the Clippers this week.
3. Do the Clippers finish out the road trip with a win or loss?
Pina: Loss. Both teams are coming off a narrow loss, but I’ll give this one to Houston just because they’re at home with the motivation of their last meeting with LAC in the front of their mind.
Han: Irrelevant. If the Clippers win but the defense or bench is atrocious, how satisfied will you feel? Conversely, if they lose, but the defense and/or bench looks amazing, would it be upsetting? I’m still just looking for progression in the areas of need.
Katz: Loss. The Clippers put up 137 when they played the Rockets this week, but most of that had to do with the Rockets’ poor play. 27 points off turnovers probably won’t happen again and if the Clips don’t come and play some defense, they could be in trouble in Houston.