Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Heading into the All-Star break, the Rockets had quietly been on the hottest teams in the league in the month of February, however consecutive losses have put them on the backfoot in the ever competitive Western Conference. Houston has had a hard time defending the paint and rebounding lately as have been out-rebounded in nine straight contests, giving up 19 offensive rebounds in Friday night’s 117-105 home loss against Denver. The Clippers are also coming off a loss as they fell to the Phoenix Suns 81-78 on Friday night to drop their fourth game in their last six contests. With the defeat, Los Angeles is now just 9-8 away from Staples Center. The Rockets are -1 point favorites over the Clippers with an over/under point total set at 196.
The Clippers raced out of the gates and never looked back in their first meeting with the Rockets, eventually cruising to a 117-89 victory in LA back at the start of January. Los Angeles outscored Houston 41-26 in the opening term, which proved too big of a gap to get back. Blake Griffin led all scorers with 22 points, while Chris Paul added 20 and 10 asssits for the home team.
Head to head, the Clippers are 5-11 ATS in the last 16 meetings and 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Houston, while the home team is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings and the favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings. The Rockets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite of 0.5-4.5 and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Clippers on the other hand are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600, but just 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games as a road underdog and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
This is one of the tougher games to call because both teams are coming off losses, so the intensity should be there for both teams. While the Rockets have been a good home team this season, their lack of rebounding and defense could be a worry against Griffin and Jordan tonight. I think the Clippers come away with the close victory here