Game 80 Preview: LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets

You don't care? So what! It's coming at you like bullets of truth!

Sad news yesterday, as the playoff hopes of the Rockets were killed in a brutal mass shooting in Memphis. 20 are confirmed dead and several are in critical condition. The funeral is set for tonight, at the Toyota Center. Patrons are asked to bring not kind words, but rather exorbitant amounts of cash in order to reserve the right to attend the funeral.

I'm upset, don't get me wrong. But as has been stated by many, none louder than patrickharrel, the Rockets lost their playoff hopes when Yao Ming went down in D.C. I could tie this back to the previous "mass shooting" thing, but that would be a cheap trick.

Now might be a good time for me to tell you how I want this Rockets team to move on. After all, I've written so many previews, and you've already dealt with my opinions. Why not one more time?

I want the Rockets to keep Rick Adelman. Yes, there's no way to develop young talent if he's here. Yes, he's always messing up rotations. Yes, he's old and tired of coaching lovable losers. I would be, too. I fully expect him to leave, but I will hate to see him go. I like Elston Turner, but I don't think he'd be a good replacement. You would need some young coach to come in and help develop the young players. Maybe a Lawrence Frank, or a Dwayne Casey. Both of those sound terrible to me.

I want the Rockets to resign (or is it re-sign) Yao Ming. I know he hurts us, but what if he signs for (much) less money. Say something in the neighborhood of 3 years, $15 million. I know he and his agent will want more, and there's wiggle room, but hear me out. We know Yao is going to get injured again. We know it. But what if he has one year at 80%? That's certainly feasible, right? Or two years at 70%? That would be worth the entire $15 for that one or two seasons. He might be fragile, but he's still tall. And I still maintain that Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger will become better defenders when their opponents only have to go over Chuck Hayes to score after they beat K-Mart and Bud off the dribble. Having Yao patrol the paint makes everyone look better on defense, even if it's just smoke and mirrors.

I want the Rockets to get a starting small forward. Chase Budinger had a good run, but he's not the permanent answer at the three. I like what he can do, but he cannot contribute consistently enough for my liking. He's a better player off the bench. It's where he belongs, for now at least.

For the love of God, I want the Rockets to keep Daryl Morey. And I'm sick and tired of reading about how he's overrated and he hasn't done anything yet. Um, he turned a team with "key" players like Rafer Alston, Luther Head, Tracy McGrady's corpse, and Vassilis Spanoulis into Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill, and Luis Scola. Upgrade? Yes. Name one other GM who has had a better three years while dealing with similar handicaps. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but it is what it is.

Finally, I want the Rockets to develop young talent while maintaining a relatively competitive ballclub. And yes, that's harder than it sounds, and it sounds really hard. It's a pipe dream, but I'm allowed to hope, right?

Matchups after the jump, but bear in mind these could change since the Rockets have nothing to play for now.

Update: They did change. Lowry and Scola are out. Expect Dragic and Hill or Patterson to start in their places.

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Mo Williams:

Last time we played the Clippers, Mo Williams was questionable and had just been traded to the Clippers and had only played in a couple of games. Of course, he chose the Rockets game to go off. Therefore, Mo Williams will always be a turd to me.

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Eric Gordon:

Much like the turd Mo Williams, Eric Gordon chose the Rockets game to return from injury. I'm not sure what the injury was, since Gordon played like a middle-class Michael Jordan. 

So, the Clippers backcourt is a couple of turds.

 

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Chase Budinger vs. Jamario Moon

Super Jamario vs. Air Bud. I'll take the human with the cape and ability to become large.

Advantage: Clippers

PF: Luis Scola vs. Blake Griffin:

The Rockets will not be allowed to touch Blake Griffin again, I assume. Ugh.

Chuck will guard Blake, Scola will guard the center. You know the drill.

Advantage: Clippers

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Chris Kaman:

Kaman came back and DeAndre Jordan lost his starting job. In Phoenix, Aaron Brooks is yelling, "SEE!"

Advantage: Clippers

---

Bench:

Clippers: Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu, Craig Smith, DeAndre Jordan, Randy Foye

Rockets: Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, Patrick PattersonJordan Hill, +more probably

Advantage: Rockets

Injuries:

Clippers: Bledsoe questionable, Gomes doubtful

Rockets: Yao out

Prediction: I will still care a great deal about this game

Clippers vs Rockets coverage

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