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Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers game preview

The Rockets stay in Los Angeles to take on the Los Angeles Clippers tonight.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets will play in the exact same arena tonight when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

LA recently had a 10-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Sacramento Kings. While the competition during the streak wasn't anything to write home about (only 2 wins against teams currently in the playoff picture), the circumstances around the team make the streak a pleasant surprise to Clipper Nation.

Blake Griffin is still out with a quadriceps injury and the Clippers continued winning without him. While the narrative is that the level of opponents was lacking, there are few teams that could win if you removed their All-Star and a huge focal point of their offense. Heck, Houston would be in trouble without Trevor Ariza. Could you imagine if they lost Dwight Howard for a month? Plus, the Clippers have been missing DeAndre Jordan over the last two games due to an illness. There's been no word as to his availability for tonight, but count on him being in the lineup.

Anyway, Houston gets a break with Griffin out tonight. Still, expect the Clippers to try to atone for their earlier loss to the Rockets and Staples will probably be full of vengeful Clippers fans looking to see Houston lose.

A prediction here is tough. On paper the Rockets should beat the Clippers if Griffin doesn't play. But Houston never plays on paper. Chris Paul is still incredible despite his horrible commercials. J.J. Redick won't miss a shot. Jamal Crawford will bank in at least one bogus shot to beat the shot clock. Plus, you can't rule out a revenge game from Pablo Prigioni, Josh Smith, or Cole Aldrich.

Tip-off is at 9:30pm CST on TNT.

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