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Rockets vs. Clippers game preview: back to reality

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Most Rockets fans were happy to beat the Dallas Mavericks, even in a tank season. Seeing the I-45 rivals lose the season series to a team that will be one of the five worst in the NBA is great, even if it wasn’t a great win in the long run.

Those good times are officially over, as the Rockets swing over to the West Coast to take on the Los Angeles Clippers in the first game of a back-to-back. The Clippers will be on the second night of a back-to-back, as they are set to play the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

Los Angeles is one of a gaggle of teams in the West that expects to advance past the first round in the playoffs. I think that’s a fascinating subplot of the Western Conference playoffs. It’s not often that six or seven teams in a conference expect to get out of the first round. Last year, only four teams really expected to advance, with a the other four hoping. The Clippers aren’t just looking for the second round though. Their goal is clearly on the big prize, and a Clippers-Nets Finals could be a lot of fun for the basketball neutral.

DeMarcus Cousins is in the middle of a 10-day contract with the Clippers. The former Rocket signed on to a playoff team and is hoping to stick. For now, the Clips need big man depth as Serge Ibaka continues to recover.

Tip-off is at 9pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest