The Clippers come to Houston for the teams' first showdown of the season a ravaged unit. They will be without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and if they have J.J. Redick, he will likely be at less than 100 percent. This is a beaten team that's lost to the Mavericks, Lakers, Nuggets and Pelicans in their last four games. They're bad right now.
If the Rockets lose this game, it's a bad loss. The three seed is of vital importance this year, and the Clippers are the Rockets primary competition. They cannot play down to the level of the men inside the jerseys; they must make swift work of the inferior competition.
The Rockets have feasted on bad opponents; the last game they lost to a sub-.500 team was the Lakers on opening night. I'm not worried about a dropoff. Expect a much-needed win to close out 2016 on a wondrous high note.