Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets Preview
The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers have identical 7-3 records entering tonight’s game in the Space City. The Rockets are third in the Western Conference and are one of the hottest teams in the league with four consecutive wins.
The Clippers have won two straight and are fourth in the West, but they are just 1-2 on the road this season.
Aside from matching up two Western Conference contenders, this will be a matchup between two of the league’s prolific scorers in Kawhi Leonard and James Harden.
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Arena: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Clippers: Landry Shamet, Paul George (O)
Rockets: Eric Gordon, Nene, Gerald Green (O)
LA Clippers Starting Lineup
The Los Angeles Clippers have won four of their last five games, just dropping a single game to the Milwaukee Bucks in a 129-124 loss last Wednesday.
In their last game, the Clippers turned it up another notch on defense in their 98-88 win at home over the Toronto Raptors.
“It was just a defensive game,” Patrick Beverley said. “It’s still early in the season. Shots that we usually make in our sleep aren’t falling so we have to lay our hat on defense. And that’s what we did.”
To Beverley’s point, the Clippers got off to a very cold start, scoring just 15 first-quarter points before going on a 36-23 run in the second.
Kawhi Leonard had a near triple-double, but it was a low-scoring game for him as he finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists.Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell led the Clippers of the bench with 21 and 14 points apiece.
Their second unit has remained one of their biggest weapons all season, with Williams, Harrell, JaMychal Green and Maurice Harkless all playing well.
Houston Rockets Starting Lineup
Normally you’d expect a team that has won four consecutive games to be excited about their progress, but at least according to Houston Rockets guard James Harden, the team is not satisfied yet.
“I just go out there and play basketball,” Harden said. “I just try to be as assertive as I can, as aggressive as I can. We’re really pissed about losing those three games. That’s what we’re pissed about.
“Defensively we’re getting better. We’ve been really, really good these last few games and that’s our mindset, just continue to get better individually. I’ve done some pretty good things individually. The most important thing is winning and finding ways to get better.”
In their last win, a 122-116 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook were important especially as the Pelicans tried to close the gap late. Harden finished with 39 points and nine assists, and Westbrook had 26 points and five rebounds. Clint Capela was a monster on the boards, with 20 rebounds to go along with his 11 points.
The Rockets will have to adjust without one of their top scorers in Eric Gordon, who scored 17 points off the bench on Monday night.
Key Player Matchups
Lou Williams vs. James Harden
This should be a fun one. With Shamet out, Doc Rivers will likely look to Williams to fill the void at shooting guard. This could turn into a shootout between two of the more talented shooters in the league. Williams is probably a slightly better defender than Harden, but at this point, it really doesn’t matter who you put in front of Harden unless it’s Kawhi Leonard.
Kawhi Leonard vs. Danuel House
The Rockets front office has found themselves a nice gem in House and he’s expected to break out this year, but Kawhi Leonard is a top-tier small forward that will be a handful for the Texas A&M alum.
Los Angeles’ Kawhi Leonard and Houston’s James Harden are the studs for tonight’s matchup. Leonard is available for $9.7k on FanDuel and he has a nice projection tonight of 50.45 points, giving him an excellent points per $1k value. Harden’s value is even higher with a 66.29 point projection for his $11.7k salary.
In terms of value pickups, it’s hard to pass on Lou Williams, especially if he starts tonight. He has a $7.2k salary and is expected to notch 39.25 points. Clint Capela may not always provide much in the points category, but he’ll make up for it in rebounds and blocks. He is available for $7.4k and is projected for 36.74 points.
Bet on Matchup
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