The Houston Rockets return to Toyota Center in a good position. They sit four wins behind their nearest challenger for a top 3 lottery spot, and are just one win “ahead” of the top 2 teams, the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. Barring another 8-game winning streak, it seems a safe bet that the Rockets will be drafting in the top 7 with their own pick and possibly in the top 20 with their pick from Brooklyn. Houston also has the sixth-hardest remaining schedule, per Tankathon.
The Los Angeles Clippers are coming off a huge win, their third over their rival Lakers. They are 3-0 against the NBA’s premier squad, with those three wins coming by a combined eight total points. Not only do they hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers, but they have the inside track on staying in the top two spots in the play-in tournament, which would give them two chances to clinch a place in the postseason.
So much of LA’s future depends on the possible return of Kawhi Leonard this season. If he does return in time for the playoffs, they’ll be the most terrifying 7/8 seed in modern memory. If he takes his time returning like he did in San Antonio, then the Clippers could slip behind the Lakers.
Anyway, this is yet another game in which Houston doesn’t need a win and their opponents do.
Tip-off is at 6pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest