Game Preview: Clippers, Paul-less Rockets face off in Houston
The matchup between the Clippers and their former point guard, for now, is postponed.
The Clippers will take on the Houston Rockets on Friday at the Toyota Center, but it won’t be a reunion matchup with Chris Paul, as the former Clippers point guard has been ruled out of Friday’s game with a sore left adductor.
Both the Clippers and Rockets are currently dealing with injuries to key players. LA remains without the services of forwards Blake Griffin (knee) and Danilo Gallinari (glute), as well as forward Wesley Johnson (foot). For Houston, in addition to Paul, the injury report includes center Clint Capela (heel) and forward Luc Mbah a Moute (shoulder).
Capela is doubtful for Friday’s game and Mbah a Moute is out.
The Clippers are coming off of a win over Phoenix on Wednesday and are 4-3 in their last seven. Defense has been key as of late for LA, having held five of its last seven opponents to 100 points or less. They lead the league in defensive rating since Dec. 11, holding opponents to 95.8 points per 100 possessions, and on Wednesday, the Clippers held Phoenix to 35 points in the first half, their best defensive half of the season.
In addition to their effort on the defensive end, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has been key to any success the team has had in the month of December. With his 12-point, 20-rebound performance against the Suns on Wednesday, Jordan is now leading the league in rebounds per game and has posted nine double-doubles in the team’s ten December games.
It was his sixth 20+ rebound performance this season. He is averaging 17.4 rebounds per game in December.
On the other side of the court, the Rockets had won 14 straight games until Wednesday’s 122-116 home loss to the Lakers.
Despite 51 points from James Harden, the Rockets struggled to slow the Lakers’ offense down. Over the last seven games, they’ve posted a defensive rating of 109.4, near the bottom of the NBA rankings.
Tip off is set for 5 p.m. PST.