After a lethargic and lackluster performance, the Houston Rockets were surprisingly stunned by a Los Angeles Clippers team without their star player and floor general Chris Paul. You would have thought a well rested Rockets team would exploit the Clippers’ point guard issue, however, Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers collectively filled the offensive void of the injured Paul, responding with a combined 38 points.
But it was Blake Griffin who was the big story for the Clippers as he notched a triple-double with 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists. Overall, the Rockets displayed poor ball movement as James Harden, Josh Smith, and Terrence Jones were virtual no-shows.
Will the Rockets even the series with a win at home or do the Clippers have the edge? Which team wins game 2? Team S.U drops their game prediction.
NBA Playoffs: Clippers vs. Rockets Game 2 Prediction
Keith Rivas (Editor): The Clippers proved they can get it done without Chris Paul and on the road in the opening game of the series — and that should deeply scare Houston fans. Now the pressure shifts to bring on the Rockets, as they now have no choice but win one game in L.A.
That’s not good for Houston, but the Clippers couldn’t be happier right now. Houston isn’t in any particular danger, but unless they really bring it back in Game 2, L.A. will strike again.
Prediction: Rockets 103, Clippers 99
Steve Turner (NBA Contributor): I’m really shocked that the Rockets lost to a Clippers. Chris Paul was sidelined and the Rockets had home court advantage so there’s no excuses for the Rockets. They played terrible which resulted in a loss at home. I don’t believe the Rockets are looking at going 0-2 at home though as they should hopefully learn from this game and improve on what they did wrong in game 1. I believe the Rockets will win game 2, however, if Chris Paul is available to play, the Rockets may be in some trouble. In the end I hope they can turn it around and make it a great series.
Sauping R. Arguello (NBA Contributor): The Los Angeles Clippers pulled off a big game one upset beating the Houston Rockets in their home court without their best player and leader, Chris Paul. The Rockets came out with no urgency and possibly underestimating a short handed Clippers team.
Austin Rivers (17 pts) came up big for the injured Paul, who is still questionable for game 2 with that strained hamstring. Matt Barnes (20pts) and J.J. Redick (17pts) also provided an extra offensive punch to make up for Paul’s absence. Blake Griffin assisted with some of the facilitating duties, recording another triple double (26 pts, 14 reb, 13 ast).
I believe the Clippers will decide to rest Paul for game 2 and allow his hamstring to heal–having him receive even more rest/treatment between games 2 and 3. Worst case scenario, they’re going to LA even and having gained home court advantage. Bringing Paul back too soon can risk re-aggravating the hamstring and causing it to linger throughout the playoffs or even losing him for the rest of the series.
I believe the Rockets will make the proper adjustments and come out with more energy as they will play off their home crowd. James Harden can’t be average or just solid. He must have a monster game in order to even the series up.
Prediction: They will go back to LA all tied up 1-1, final score Rockets 109 Clippers 96.
Jr. Williams (NBA Editor): What can I say. When you play like a bum you get your ass beat like a bum, and that’s exactly what happened to the Rockets on their home floor, as their lack of energy and respect for the Clippers resulted in an embarrassing punch in the mouth in front of their home crowd.
Kevin McHale got out-coached and outclassed by Doc Rivers who is one of the best motivators in the league, so he (McHale) better dig deep this series because his run-and-gun offense won’t fly this time around. The Rockets need to search within and rediscover what gave them the edge in round 1 of the playoffs versus the Mavericks.
I’d personally like to see more from Terrence Jones next game as he’s one of the toughest players for the Rockets and should be able to contain Blake Griffin. One thing I don’t want to see is Josh Smith jacking up three-pointers. He shot 3-12 from the field when his team really needed him to be aggressive inside.
What part of the game is that???
All in all, the Clippers have a choice. Either fight back in game 2 or get knocked the f—k out like a washed up boxer. The choice is theirs, but they better toughen up next game or this series could be over early.
Prediction: The Rockets will lift-off with an impressive win at home to even the series 1-1, final score 112-96.