Rockets vs Clippers Matchups and Prediction

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The Houston Rockets host the LA Clippers in a huge TNT matchup this Thursday. The Rockets currently lead the season series 2-1 but trail in the standings by two games(pending Tuesday night Clippers game).

Big matchups always come down to matchups and this game isn’t any different. Let’s take a look at who has the advantage at each position for the Rockets vs Clippers.

Point Guard

Russell Westbrook vs Patrick Beverley

There isn’t a more volatile matchup in the league than Russell Westbrook vs Patrick Beverly. Of course it goes all the way back to the Westbrook injury vs the Houston Rockets in the Playoffs several years ago on this play.

Since this play by Beverley which ironically enough happen while he was with the Rockets the two have had a tumultuous history. They face off again Thursday. Beverley has been in and out of the lineup for most of the year while Westbrook has emerged again as a top 10 player in the league.

Westbrook is averaging for the season 27.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.1 assist. Beverley on the other hand is averaging under nine points,5.6 rebounds and 3.9 assist.

Advantage Rockets

Shooting Guard

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James Harden vs Paul George

This is another case of a player being in and out of the lineup for most of the year. Paul George started the year on the injured list and has continue to be in and out for a big part of the year. When he is in the lineup he hasn’t looked like the player who last year was in the MVP conversation. Still a great two way player but injury have slowed him for most of the year. George is averaging 21.2 and 5.8 rebounds a game but only has played in 38 games.

James Harden even with recent shooting struggles still leads the league in scoring and averaging 7.4 assist and 6.3 rebounds. Even if he doesn’t win MVP this year these are still all-time great stats. In his last matchup Rockets vs the Clippers Harden put up 28 points and 10 assist.

Advantage Rockets

Small Forward

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Danuel House vs Kawhi Leonard

Lets be honest not too much has to be said about this matchup. Kawhi Leonard a top 5 player in the league and although House has played better recently he is the weakest link in the Rockets starting five. In a matchup like this it comes down to rather House can at the very least contribute as he will be the player the Clippers leave open a lot. For the Rockets on defense it will be a matter of it the Rockets can make Leonard work getting his shot up.

House will not be the primary defender on Leonard that assignment will fall to Robert Covington or P.J. Tucker but House will need to contribute on both ends.

Advantage Clippers

Power Forward

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Robert Covington vs Marcus Morris

In 10 games since being traded to the Houston Rockets, Robert Covington has 25 blocks and 5 out of 10 games have made four or more 3-pointer. Covington has had the biggest impact out of any player that has been dealt during this season. Covington has been a perfect fit for the Rocket’s small-ball approach.

Marcus Morris has played eight games for the Clippers since being traded from the Knicks. It has been an up and down Clippers stint for Morris as his shooting has been inconsistent in the last eight games. In this matchup Covington has been the more consistent player and more impactful

Advantage Rockets

Center

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P.J Tucker vs Ivan Zubac

This is a misleading matchup as the Clippers have a center by committee but going by the starting matchup P.J. Tucker is the heart and soul of the Rockets. Tucker’s game and impact are not always measured by numbers. Tucker makes plays that are not always on SportsCenter but are winning plays. Tucker plays 35 to 40 minutes a game while at the most Zubac plays 20 minutes a game before he yields to Harrell.

Advantage Rockets

Bench: Rockets vs Clippers

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This is where the Clippers probably have their biggest advantage. Lou Williams, Reggie Jackson, Montrezl Harrell could start for a lot of teams. The Rockets bench have been better Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon, Ben McLemore and Jeff Green have improved but still rank as one of the lowest scoring benches in the league.

Advantage Clippers

Conclusion

The Rockets and Clippers are battling for playoff position and are close in many ways. The Rockets are playing at home and after a bad loss Monday the Rockets will come out focused. This game goes a long way in the playoff race and the Rockets should pull this game out in a close one.

Rockets 115 Clippers 110

Leading Scorers: Russell Westbrook 32 points Kawhi Leonard 25 points

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