Game 47 Preview: LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets

Another day, another game.

The Clippers come to Houston, and have become a serious story this season. They've become a better team and they have Blake Griffin. 'Nuff said. The dude, like, dunks and stuff. Like every...single...game. I know he's a rookie, and I know the hyperbole has been flowing like cheap champagne after a championship, but Griffin is the current Dominique Wilkins: The Human Highlight Real 2.0.

The Clippers will be without the services of Eric Gordon. This is a big break for the Rockets, as he's been their best player all year (including the man-child) and was the prime candidate to become the next wing to score 40 against the Rockets.

Also, Blake Griffin was flagrantly fouled by Brendon Haywood last night, hurting his elbow. The x-rays came back negative. Story is here. Of further note is how big of a douche Haywood was about the foul.

Haywood, however, doesn't even think he should have been called for a flagrant foul.

"No, that's not a flagrant foul," Haywood told ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan. "I feel the NBA should give my money back for that one. It was one of those plays, I just grabbed his arm. He's just so athletic and strong that he was still trying to finish the play and he ends up basically not protecting himself.

"On those type of plays he has to realize, 'All right, I got fouled, just throw it at the rim and come down.' Protect yourself for the next play. Every play can't be a dunk-contest dunk."

The Clips had a big lead against the Mavs last night, but were demolished in the second half. Wait, by saying that I am implying that...

THE ROCKETS ARE PLAYING A TEAM ON A BACK-TO-BACK!!! AND THE ROCKETS THEMSELVES AREN'T ON A BACK-TO-BACK! ALERT THE MEDIA!!! LOOKS LIKE THE NBA SCHEDULE MAKERS FINALLY MESSED UP!!! HAHA SUCK IT STERN! SUCK IT BIG TIME!!!

Rant over. Sorry for the yelling. I'm not yelling at you guys. Much love.

The real subplot tonight isn't Gordon or Chris Kaman's absence. It isn't even Blake Griffin.

It's Brian Cook's return to the Yote. To the building that shunned him for a year-and-a-half. Now, he's vowed revenge on his former club. They never understood him. They never gave him a chance. He was T-Mac in Dwight Howard's body. His court vision was unmatched, and teams cowered in fear as he trotted down the court, looking content to receive his paycheck and go home. But in every man there exists an animal inside. A primal urge to dominate. Tonight, Cook gets his chance, and the Rockets had better get out of his way, because Brian says, "This time, it's personal!"

Clippers! Rockets! It's worthy of the NBA ON NBC!

♪♪ NBA on NBC ★ 1998 NBA Finals Intro ★ (via jjx2094)

Yeah, I love that theme song. A lot.

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Baron Davis:

Baron Davis is a feast or famine kind of player. He's either going to kill the Rockets, or he's going to be a serious weak link. I'm going to hope for the latter. We all should. On a side note, I really like Eric Bledsoe, the backup out of Kentucky.

Don't ask me where I stand on the AB-Lowry stuff now. I understand AB being frustrated. He's still not 100%, and all the easy assists he got for passing to Scola, K-Mart, and Battier are all gone now. Courtney, Chase, and Jordan Hill haven't been playing well of late, and AB is upset with his misfortune.

It would be hard for anyone to be OK with that, but I guess that's why he gets paid millions of dollars. Oh, and to make matters worse for AB, it's a contract year and he knows his stats are going to look terrible. Dare I say Morey is telling Adelman to sit AB so he can be had for a cheaper rate in the offseason?

Meanwhile, Lowry hasn't been exceptional or anything with the starters. He deserves to be starting right now but he's losing that right with each passing game.

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Randy Foye:

With Gordon out, Foye will get the start. Whether it's Foye or Gomes on Martin, he needs to score a bunch of points tonight. A bunch. If Gordon were playing this would be even. That's how much respect I have for the former Hoosier. But he's out, so...

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Shane Battier vs. Ryan Gomes:

Gomes does the little things for the Clippers like Shane does for us. I trust Shane more, obviously, so this is a simple pick.

Advantage: Rockets

PF: Luis Scola vs. Blake Griffin:

Griffin is going to jump over every Rockets player.

Exhibit A: Dunkfest: Blake Griffin vs Knicks (via NBA)

 

Exhibit B not needed. Case closed. But even though I'm sure he'll go off, Luis is too good to give away the advantage, and Blake's defense is suspect.

Advantage: Even

C: Chuck Hayes vs. DeAndre Jordan:

I'm just going to say what I said last time about Jordan.

It's 7/7 for Tom's old Episcopal buddy. I've met this guy several times. He was in the grade below me, but he usually got invited to the cotillions that St. John's, Kinkaid, and Episcopal were a part of. Something I noticed was how quiet and reserved he was. He may have changed since then, but at the time you had to pull really hard to get anything out of the guy. Unlike most people there, I actually knew who he was and that he tearing it apart in AAU.

Anyway, he's playing much better this season. He's on pace for career highs in every stat, including field goal percentage, where he's currently sitting at 67%. No wonder Tom is thinking about bringing him back to Houston.

Advantage:Clippers

---

Bench:

Clippers: Eric Bledsoe, Rasual Butler, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jarron Collins, Ike Diogu, and BRIAN COOK!!!

Rockets: Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Aaron Brook, Patrick Patterson

Advantage:When in doubt, go with B-Cook

Injuries:

Clippers: Eric Gordon out, Chris Kaman out

Rockets: Brad Miller out

Prediction: Rockets start a winning streak

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