The current fashion in the NBA is a high-paced athlete-fest played largely on the wings.  While I love a PHX-WAS game as much as the next guy, I have to say that I’m amped for Houston and their infinitesimal 92.8 possessions/game pace.  As intoxicating as the Suns are, the deliberate calibrations that each team makes in a Houston-Clipper game are fascinating to watch.  Not only are there stellar matchups on the floor, but Dunleavy and Van Gundy are two of the most similar coaches in the L.  

A chess match is played inside each possession.  We watch Elton try to leverage his quickness against Yao, while Yao maximizes his size.  How will Corey Maggette create shots against a dogged Shane Battier.  Will Hart, Kaman and Mobley do what they need to do to get Corey his shots?  Will Corey recognize when the guys set up effective opportunities for him away from the ball [something Corey has been doing exceptionally well of late]? I think Houston – in particular, Battier and Hayes for T-Mac – run some of the best S/Rs in the Association.  How will the Clippers recover defensively?  

A pivotal game for the Clips.  A streak of Ws @CHI, @MIL, UTAH, WAS, & HOU is an achievement for any team, and would put the Clips in the driver’s seat for a playoff berth.  Additionally, Denver has 8 of 13 on the road, including road games at PHX, the Lakers, Utah, and San Antonio, not to mention a home game v. Dallas.  Only two back of DEN, and with the tiebreaker in their favor if they can win the DEN game at Staples next weekend, the Clippers could feasibly pass the Nuggets for the 7 seed.  I know the prospect of any success in the playoffs is remote, but watching meaningful basketball is about as good as it gets for a fan, and at least the Clippers can give us that.