On the back of three important wins, the LA Clippers start their road trip on Friday with a matchup against the NBA's worst team this season - the Houston Rockets. The Clippers are ruthless at the moment and have one of the deepest rosters in the league. Even with an undermanned lineup, Ty Lue's side had more than enough to overcome the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
For the Houston Rockets, meanwhile, their season has been underwhelming and they have lost eight of their previous ten games.
Fixture - LA Clippers vs Houston Rockets | 2020-21 NBA Season.
Date & Time - Friday, April 23rd; 8:00 PM ET (Saturday, April 24th; 5:30 AM IST).
Venue - Toyota Center, Houston, TX
LA Clippers preview
Ty Lue's LA Clippers side are on a roll at the moment and catching form at the right time. They have won nine of their last ten outings and 17 of their last 20. Their league-leading offense has had a large part to play in that run, with six players averaging 10 or more points per game in their last 15 matchups.
The biggest worry for LA Clippers fans is whether they can replicate their form in the playoffs. Kawhi Leonard has had plenty of rest recently with foot soreness and will remain out for about another week. His return will not be rushed, however, with the Clippers relying on the two-time champion to be at peak performance come the postseason.
With their roster depth, the LA Clippers have been able to deal with countless injuries to their starters throughout this season. Marcus Morris has been electric recently since earning his place in the starting lineup, averaging 16.9 points across his last nine games and shooting at over 50% from deep.
Key player - Paul George
Despite getting the night off on Wednesday, Paul George has been essential to the LA Clippers' recent success.
Over their last ten games, in which George has played seven and won six, the 30-year-old averaged 32.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 5.6 assists. He has been extremely efficient from the field, shooting at 54.2%, and from downtown, where he made 47.5% of 8.4 attempts per night.
Paul George has certainly looked like he is back to his best and is building momentum at just the right time for the LA Clippers. He has faced criticism in the past for his playoff performances but looks determined to prove his doubters wrong and is quietly going about his business while helping the Clippers chase down the top-seeded Utah Jazz in the West.
LA Clippers predicted lineup
Point Guard - Reggie Jackson l Shooting Guard - Terrence Mann l Small Forward - Paul George l Power Forward - Marcus Morris Jr. l Center - Ivica Zubac
Houston Rockets preview
Houston Rockets fans will be frustrated this week in finding that star guard Kevin Porter Jr. has been ruled out for the next few games after breaching the league's health and safety protocols. Ineligible to play on Wednesday night, the Rockets were blown out by the Utah Jazz at home, 112-89.
That was just the latest loss in a Houston Rockets horrid run that has seen them win only five games since the beginning of February. The franchise will be looking toward the league's lottery, where they currently have a 52% chance of having a top-4 pick for the 2021 draft. In the midst of a rebuild, combining a top rookie with the likes of Porter Jr., John Wall and Christian Wood could help the Rockets compete next season.
Key player - Christian Wood
Christian Wood has been a breath of fresh air for the Houston Rockets this season. Breaking through after being brought in from Detroit, Wood has averaged 20.9 points and 9.3 rebounds since moving to center.
Houston Rockets fans will only be disappointed that the 25-year-old hasn't been able to feature in more games, having struggled with injuries throughout the campaign.
Wood has featured in the Houston Rockets last ten however, and has shot at 51.6% from the floor. Grabbing four double-doubles in that time, he also shot at over 40% from downtown and had the best +/- of any Rockets starter.
Houston Rockets predicted lineup
Point Guard - John Wall l Shooting Guard - Armoni Brooks l Small Forward - Jae'Sean Tate l Power Forward - Kelly Olynyk l Center - Christian Wood.
Clippers vs Rockets match prediction
It's difficult to predict anything other than a comfortable win for the LA Clippers in this matchup. The last time these two sides met on the 10th of April, Ty Lue's team eased past the Houston Rockets 126-109.
Matching up the best offense in the league against a bottom-six defense will likely only end one way. So we can expect the LA Clippers to rack up another high score and extend their winning streak, while the Houston Rockets will have to look ahead to more winnable fixtures.
Where to watch the Clippers vs Rockets matchup
Fans in America can catch the game on Bally Sports Local and on AT&T Sportsnet - Southwest. With an NBA League Pass, you can also stream the matchup live at any time.