Los Angeles Clippers vs. Houston Rockets
7:30 p.m. PST
February 11, 2015
FOX Prime Ticket/ ESPN
Video of the Day
James Harden is so happy.
1. What’s up with Patrick Beverley?
Michael Pina, (@MichaelVPina): Patrick Beverley isn’t having the greatest two-week span of his career (he’s averaging 7.5 points per game on a repulsive 32.9% shooting—27.1% from behind the three-point line—in his last 10 games), but Houston shouldn’t panic just yet. Basketball payers go on shooting slumps. It’s part of life. But Beverley’s overall track record makes him trustworthy. More concerning is his inability to stay on the floor. Beverley must stay aggressive without fouling so much.
Fred Katz, (@fredkatz): I don’t know, but it’s not good. Beverley was shooting 40 percent from three over his first 32 games. Over his last six, he’s shot only 30 percent from the field and 21 from beyond the arc. Something’s off, but it’s only six games, and in a contract year, you’d have to imagine one of the best defensive and most energetic guards in the NBA will be fine.
Seth Partnow, (@SethPartnow): Beverley’s approach to hustle and defensive pressure is the same as that of the formerly starving man who eats everything in sight because he doesn’t know where the next meal is coming. Being out of the league for a minute probably has a lot to do with it.
2. Has Josh Smith turned things around (again)?
Pina: Since joining the Rockets, Josh Smith is quietly shooting 36% from deep and has seriously cut down on the long-two attempts. Houston’s defense is better with him on the floor, and he goes through stretches of pure brilliance as a shot-creating facilitator from the power forward spot. There’s no real mystery as to why. Smith fits into Houston’s system and complements its roster much better than he did in Detroit. Good for him.
Katz: I guess. But that’s what Smith seems like he’s going to be at this point in his career: inconsistent. It’s amazing to remember he’s still only 29 years old. Smith could totally turn his career around and shock everyone at some point. Or not.
Partnow: Has he turned it around, or has the room rotated 180 degrees around him? He’s still doing a mix of Good Josh Smith and Bad Josh Smith things, just in an environment where the former matters more than the latter.
3. What’s worse: life without Dwight or life without Blake?
Pina: This is a close call if we’re studying their absences in a vacuum. But throw in some context and the obvious answer is Blake Griffin. The Clippers are top heavy, and Griffin is one of two reasons why (the other being Chris Paul). He’s an MVP candidate and one of the toughest one-on-one match-ups in the league. The Rockets and James Harden have shown they can weather Dwight’s bad knee. But L.A. is in serious trouble if Griffin misses more than a month of action.
Katz: I’ll say life without Blake if only because I’m adding context. The Clippers forward rotation is thinner than 18-year-old Reggie Miller without Griffin. Houston, meanwhile, has quality bigs and the arguable MVP running its offense. It’s in a better position to absorb the blow of no Dwight.