Game Preview: Clippers look to extend win streak, host Paul and Rockets
On Monday, the Clippers will be looking for a home win in the midst of a homecoming.
L.A. (21-21) will play host to the Houston Rockets (30-11) on MLK Day, with point guard Chris Paul making his return to the STAPLES Center to take on his former team for the first time this season.
In a matchup that has been much-anticipated all season, both teams will be looking to extend recent win streaks. The Clippers have won their last four and Houston has won its last three. However, L.A. has been the hotter team in recent weeks.
Over the last 13 games, the Clippers are 10-3, tied for the best record in the NBA over that time span. Houston, however, is 6-7 over its last 13, after starting the season 24-4.
The Clippers’ hottest player in recent weeks is guard Lou Williams, who arrived in L.A. as a result of last summer’s blockbuster Paul trade. In June, Williams, along with guard Patrick Beverley, and forwards Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell, all landed in L.A. in exchange for Paul.
26p/1r/2a/4s— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 13, 2018
Lou Williams has 20+ points in 12 straight games. Second longest active streak and 6th longest in the NBA this season.
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And while each has produced in their short time with the Clippers so far, Williams has shined.
During the Clippers’ current four-game winning streak, Williams is averaging 35.0 points per game, and over the last 13, he is averaging 30.1 points per game, highlighted by a 50-point performance in a win over the Warriors last Wednesday.
In addition, Williams has scored 20+ points in 12 consecutive games, the second longest active streak in the NBA.
The Clippers and Rockets have shared the hardwood once this season, but Paul missed the game due to injury. On Dec. 22, L.A. defeated Houston, 128-108, on the Rockets’ home floor, led by 36 points from guard Austin Rivers and 32 points from Williams off the bench.
Monday’s game will look significantly different from the two teams’ first matchup, specifically from a personnel standpoint. Back in December, Clippers forward Blake Griffin missed the game due to a knee injury, and the Rockets were without Paul and center Clint Capela, who was suffering from a heel injury.
While Griffin, Paul and Capela will all be in action on Monday, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is questionable after suffering a left ankle sprain in Thursday’s win over Sacramento. In addition, the two highest scorers from that December tilt – Rivers (right ankle injury) and the Rockets’ James Harden (hamstring) – will both miss Monday’s game due to injury.
Harden scored 51 points when the Clippers defeated Houston less than a month ago.
Monday’s game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.