Jan 25, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Rockets forward Josh Smith (5) and Houston Rockets guard Corey Brewer (33) in the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Rockets won 99-87. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
With so many Rockets on the injury list especially in the front court could the revamped Clippers be the difference? Of note the players who’ll need to address the weakness of the 2014-15 Clippers weren’t on the team who famously lost to Houston after holding a 3-1 series edge. In fact, it could be argued the player who spearheaded that 19 point comeback was Josh Smith though Corey Brewer was pivotal and Trevor Ariza was crucial defensively. I’d like to see Kevin McHale utilize K.J. McDaniels more in the offense especially with the depleted roster and entering the second game of a back-to-back.
Edge: Clippers As much as the new Clippers are still building chemistry the fact Houston’s front court is decimated can’t be overlooked. LA will have a mission tonight to send a statement, but will their reserves have as much invested?
Side Note: Both teams feature a youngster who many fans would like to see more of: on the Clippers that’s Branden Dawson Bwho lit it up in the Orlando Summer League, but falls down the depth chart with Josh Smith joining their team. (what McHale wouldn’t do to have a player of this ilk available to him right now!) For the Rockets it’s K.J. McDaniels which hasn’t been getting any burn. I wish McHale would give him even 10 minutes a game just to set a defensive tone and tire out the opposition.
Next: Keys and Pick