Nov 28, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Members of the Los Angeles Clippers celebrate after a play during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets Game Day: Wed Feb 11, 10:30 PM EST – ESPN, PT, CSNH at Staples Center in Los Angeles
The game prior to the All-Star break is often one which coaches mark on their calendars as a trap game. This is because it’s difficult to keep players minds focused on playing knowing they’ll be heading on their break. In the case of tonight’s two teams they have enough veterans on their teams which should help alleviate that problem.
Each of the 30 teams will have played 51 games after tonight which is why it’s funny we refer to this time of year as the mid-way point. Tonight is Houston’s 53rd game which will leave them with 29 games post break and 18 of those games feature plus-.500 teams.
Houston enter on the second night of a back to back while the Clippers are returning from their Grammy road trip which featured them blowing a lead in the final moments of a game, getting thrashed by Cleveland, leading by 2o+ points over Toronto and eventually losing by 16 and getting completely thumped by Oklahoma City. Not exactly how they wanted to head into the break
- Returning from their Grammy road trip the Clippers got blown several times and looked anything but a top contender. They finished the road trip at 3-5.
- Spencer Hawes has been a major roll and I don’t mean in terms of his offensive or defensive production. He has factored in two major injuries to opponents as his swipe at Steven Adams led to the broken bone in his hand requiring surgery and he also was the guy who fouled Tyson Chandler which ended with him twisting his ankle. Therefore as much as the Rockets want to win tonight perhaps a better focus may be just making sure Hawes doesn’t hurt any of their players.
- The West is very tightly packed with the Clippers in a bit of a precarious position as they sit 8.5 games back of Golden State in their division. Also a half game separates them from moving up to fifth where Dallas currently is or falling to seventh where the Spurs currently are seeded. Plus with Oklahoma City and New Orleans looking to make a charge to un-seed current eighth seeded Suns who are reeling at 3-7 in the last ten it’s not a stretch to imagine the Clippers could go on an extended losing streak and fall right out of the playoff seeds.
- The Clippers next ten games feature 7 current playoff seeds.
- The Clippers are 20-5 when J.J. Redick scores 15 points.
- The Clippers have owned Houston of late winning their past 5 games, last 6 games at Staples and 10 of their last 11 meetings.
- James Harden has been red hot scoring 40+ in his past two games, but took a hard fall last night landing on his elbow.
- Neither team will have their All-Star big man in the game as Howard remains out and Griffin underwent surgery Monday to remove a staph infection from his right elbow.
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