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Game 63 Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers

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So I didn't watch the second half again. Once again, it wasn't by choice really but it worked out. At this rate I will never get to watch the Rockets win live again. I have problems with that, but not many.
So we head to the fourth game on the fifth night. Yet another flight for this team takes them from Rip City to LA. Hail the conquering heroes, indeed.
The Clippers have become the Blake Show, with ESPN shoving him down my throat at every opportunity. At the beginning of the year I loved it. His dunks were so cool, and they still are, admittedly. But I grow weary of watching every single dunk he performs. Yes, Baron Davis (and now Mo Williams) have the easiest job in the world when all you have to do is throw the ball around the basket for Blake to dunk it. For Baron, it was as simple as just attempting a shot.
Then there was the whole Dunk Contest fiasco. If you don't think it was rigged, quit reading now, because feelings will only be hurt at this point. Going into his second dunk of the first round, Blake needed a 46 to advance. He did this dunk. I should mention that all high quality videos have been removed (most likely by the NBA) to prevent conspiracy theories from popping up.

BLAKE GRIFFIN 2nd Dunk 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Champion (via NextLevelClips)

One judge gave this a ten. I hope it wasn't Clyde Drexler. Even Reggie Miller sounds incredulous.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the league busts out a car and a choir to help Blake with his second dunk? Not rehearsed at all, I'm sure. And if one more person tries to tell me that dunking over a car is an original concept, I'm going (to borrow BD's phrase) put my head through the computer monitor. I mean, he jumped over the hood! Grow a pair and dunk over the body, son!

Well, at least he's on my fantasy team, doing work. I hope he sucks tonight, though.

And if any Clippers fans come here and get upset, I'm sorry, and I just had to vent. Let's get on with the matchups.


PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Mo Williams:

Williams turned his ankle in LA's last game, but he's listed as probable so he gets the start. He's still got to be adjusting to the offense in LA, so I don't know if he'll really have the full arsenal on display. He can shoot really well when the mood strikes him. If he can't go, Eric Bledsoe will get the start.

Lowry. Damn. That is all.

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs.Randy Foye:

Foye was always considered a point guard, but now with Eric Gordon questionable (wrist injury), he may once again start at the shooting guard. What does this mean? Bad news for the Clippers.

Do you expect anything else at this point?



Advantage: Rockets

SF: Chase Budinger vs. Ryan Gomes:

Gomes has scored 19 points in his last four games.

Bud has 79 over the same number of games.

And I absolutely love the "Yeah, boy!" he gives Chuck after the sweet behind-the-back pass that led to the dunk. Easily more important to me than the pass itself, which was beautiful. Budinger showing emotion is interesting, and I like it. He and Courtney Lee have great "focused and pumped" faces. I look forward to seeing them tonight.

Advantage: Rockets

PF: Luis Scola vs. Blake Griffin:

Like last time, don't expect these two to guard each other. Griffin may get time on Scola, but Chuck will have to try and contain Griffin. He succeeded last time, but remember that Chuck just shut down the hottest forward in the league last night and that the team is probably tired from helping on defense. If the Rockets can slow the Clippers down and prevent fast breaks where Blake can dunk and fire up the crowd, this game is eminently winnable.

Scola started the game hot last night, and finished that way, too. 10 for 11 is astounding, especially on a bad knee. I hope he gets his confidence back too because we need him to step up and stop playing like a role player. He's too good for that.

Advantage: Even

C: Chuck Hayes vs. DeAndre Jordan:

Chuck will be guarding Griffin, so DeAndre Jordan should have a field day with Scola. If he can take the ball to the cup and force fouls or help, the Rockets will be in trouble. He's a strong player that is really playing well right now. This could be bad.

I'm calling this even, because these two guys are probably the most important players tonight and either could help his team win. Chuck with his defense or DeAndre with his offense.

Advantage: Even



Clippers: Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu, Craig Smith, Jamario Moon

Rockets: Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, Brad Miller, Terrence Williams, Patrick Patterson, Jordan Hill

Advantage: Rockets


Clippers: Eric Gordon questionable, Mo Williams probable

Rockets: Yao out

Prediction: Rockets need to win this

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