This is a big game for both teams.
For the Rockets, they can continue to put space between them and that 3-team pack fighting for the 8th seed. And should a tie occur with the Lakers, this game is important as a Western Conference game which is a tiebreaker down the line.
The Clippers are in a 3-team fight of their own. The Clippers, Nuggets, and Grizzlies are separated by 1.5 games (as of this writing Friday afternoon). The 3 seed would avoid the other two teams in the first round and will likely get the Warriors or Rockets. This should be a big deal to the Clippers, who have dominated the Rockets in the two previous meetings. The 4th and 5th place teams will have to play each other then likely the Spurs.
I get this growing feeling that people find the Thunder beatable now. They're still incredibly tough, but beating them might be easier than beating the Spurs. Again, that's key to the Clippers, who were swept handily by San Antonio last year in the semifinals.
Like I said, big game. Enjoy your weekend, and go Rockets!
Tip-off at 7pm CST.
Other big games in terms of the West playoff race that take place before the Rockets play again.
Lakers vs. Kings (9pm)
Blazers vs. Warriors (9:30pm)
And I'll leave you with this:
Blake Griffin hits side of the backboard - Warriors' fans & bench approve (2012.01.02) (via kietasss)