Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers

It hurts. - Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The red-hot Clippers come into Houston tonight to face the reeling Rockets coming off 5 straight wins but also the loss of their starting point guard.

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The Patrick Beverley injury should remind us about the fragility of the NBA season. The dropoff from Patrick Beverley to Jeremy Lin isn't in the same galaxy as the dropoff between, say, James Harden and Jordan Hamilton.

The injury doesn't put the Rockets in doubt of making the playoffs, but it does hurt their ability to advance deep into the playoffs. Especially with how packed the Western Conference is these days, Beverley might be the difference between a first/second round exit and a trip to the WCF. There's a thin margin for error for the Rockets, and it just got thinner.

It hurts to lose Beverley right before a game that the Rockets will need him most: he would have been chasing Chris Paul around all night and made life difficult for the All-Star. On the plus side, Lin is unlikely to foul Paul enough to incur the wrath and politicking that CP3 does when he faces Beverley.

For me, the fascinating subplot is actually the dropoff from Lin to Isaiah Canaan. The Rockets traded Aaron Brooks because they wanted another wing player, but also because they were confident in Canaan's ability to step up if one of the two point guards in front of him got hurt.

Canaan won't be playing the same minutes that Lin did. More than likely, Lin will play 40+ minutes per night and so will Harden. This will limit Canaan to somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 minutes/night. And that's assuming the Rockets stick with a 3-guard rotation and don't insert Francisco Garcia or J-Ham into that bunch.

I'm sorry this wasn't a preview, but we needed to talk more about Beverley. Or at least I did. For sanity. Get well soon man. And getting it repaired is the far smarter decision, at least from the future doctor's perspective.

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