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Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Clippers game preview - November 14

N.B. Lindberg
Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Clippers: X-Factor

The X-factor for the Rockets is Alperen Sengun. He has emerged as the Rockets’ best offensive player and has been key to an offensive turnaround. On November 5th, the Rockets’ offense began to run more through Sengun out of the low-block and high post. The rationale was simple, Sengun is an elite post scorer and willing passer. Give him the rock and let the offense hum around him. 

The results have been spectacular. The Rockets’ offensive rating in those four games has exploded to 116.7, their effective field goal percentage is 57.9%, their offensive rebounding percentage is 33.1%, and their free throw to field goal attempt ratio is .237. 

Interestingly, Sengun’s statistics haven’t seen a massive uptick. Before the shift in offensive focus, he averaged 16.7 points on 56.8% shooting, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 27.1 minutes a game. Since he became more key to the offense, he has averaged 15 points on 59.5% shooting, 7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 24.7 minutes a game. 

If Sengun can continue to lead the Rockets to efficient offense while staying out of foul trouble, he could post his first 20/10/5 of the season. If he’s able to get Zubac in foul trouble early on, the Rockets rebounding advantage could be massive, but how he fares against a small lineup could also prove a challenge. Sengun has the ability to swing the game in favor of the Rockets, but he could also become a liability. That sounds like an X-factor to me. 

The X-factor for the Clippers is Reggie Jackson. He has struggled to find his shooting touch this season, but as the Clippers' starting point guard, he controls their fate on offense. He's shooting 39.4% from the field and 28.8% from three but is dishing 4.2 assists and only 2.1 turnovers per game.

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Jackson is a very hot and cold player, but he needs to start making a real impact before he loses his starting job. As a low-turnover guard, he's a good shooting night away from making a massive impact. He has shot the ball better as of late, shooting 50% from the field over his past three games, but a relatively muted volume. Look for him to be aggressive shooting the ball early, and if he is hitting, don't expect him to stop.