The Los Angeles Clippers will host another team at the Staples Center following an impressive 113-103 win over the Phoenix Suns. The Suns ran out of gas against the Clippers, as they couldn’t muster up enough in the second-half to keep up. It’s tough playing two strong defensive teams in back-to-back nights and have enough in the fourth quarter to grind out two wins. The Clippers ultimately beat the Suns by a score of 113-103 after pulling away to win the final frame, 30-23. With the win, the Clippers extended their winning streak to three games. They are winners in 9 of their last 11 games, with an overall record of 35-18.
The good news for the Suns is that they still have a two-game advantage on the Clippers in the West despite the loss. The bad news is that I don’t think that the Clippers have really reached their full potential this season. If the Clippers get hot and reach peak form come playoff time, they can beat anyone in the Western Conference. The key for the Clippers is a healthy Paul George in the postseason. Not just healthy, but Paul has to get the critics off his back and stop poking fun at his Playoff P moniker. The only way to do that is taking over games and leading the Clippers to the NBA Finals with Kawhi Leonard.
On a back-to-back with the Houston Rockets on tap, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of Leonard or George get the night off. It’s likely George if Tyronn Lue wants to go in that direction. If the Clippers had a quality team on the docket tonight, it’s unlikely they take the load management approach to this game, but there’s a decent chance of it happening in this spot. The Clippers could sit down Leonard and George and probably get out of Friday night with a win. However, the Rockets should get some credit for how hard they’ve been playing recently. The Rockets are coming off a 102-93 win against the Dallas Mavericks.
They were also competitive against the Phoenix Suns in a 133-130 loss and 122-115 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans before beating the Mavericks. It doesn’t help give the Rockets a productive record, though. The Rockets head to the Staples Center with a record of 14-37 and 14th in the West. At least they’ve been playing basketball as of late and haven’t just rolled over and quit on the season. We’ll see if they can get into another competitive game tonight. Head below for our free Rockets vs. Clippers pick on April 9, 2021.
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers NBA Betting Odds:
Rockets vs. Clippers Prediction:
The Rockets will have to pull off the upset without John Wall at the Staples Center tonight. Wall has been announced as OUT for rest against the Clippers. The Rockets have been giving him a heavy workload recently, and in a game that doesn’t mean much on paper, they are going to give him the night off. That doesn’t help give the Rockets a good chance of beating the Clippers, though.
Wall has scored 20.5 points per game and 6.8 assists per game for the Rockets this season. The onus will fall on Victor Oladipo to carry the load from the guard position for the Rockets tonight. It should be tough against a Clippers’ defense that can lockdown any offense in the NBA. The Clippers are sixth in the league with 108 points against per game.
In their previous five games with the Clippers turning up the intensity, they’ve allowed just 101.8 points per game. In those five outings, the Portland Trail Blazers are the only team to score more than 103 points against the Clippers. The Rockets have struggled to get into a groove offensively this season. They’ve scored an average of 107.7 points per game for 24th in the league. The Rockets are 29th from the field and 29th from deep with a dismal three-point percentage of 33.6%.
While the Clippers might go through the motions a bit following their big win last night, their defensive presence will still likely be felt. And the Clippers do not like many second chance opportunities. The Clippers are second in the league in defensive rebounding, while the Rockets are 28th in offensive rebounding. Look for the Clippers to clean up the boards, and force the Rockets to hit their shots from the outside without Wall in the lineup.
The Rockets may not have a lockdown defense like the Clippers, but they’ve been fine with 113.8 points against per game. There are a lot of worse defensive teams out there in the NBA than the Rockets. If the Clippers really wanted to go off in this game against the Rockets, they probably could, but I am not confident in them caring to run up the score after a hard-fought game against the Suns. With George’s foot problem lingering, I could see him getting the night off or a reduced workload. I like the UNDER to come in at the Staples Center.