Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets (-3.5, 212.5)
There wasn’t a lot of defense played when Los Angeles and Houston played on Monday, and it figures to be another high-scoring affair when the Rockets host the Clippers on Saturday. Los Angeles posted a 137-118 victory in the first meeting, making 15 3-pointers and receiving 23 points and 17 assists from point guard Chris Paul. The Clippers matched a franchise record with 78 first-half points in that victory but have since lost back-to-back games to Orlando and Miami.
Rockets star James Harden has been hobbled by a foot injury but still managed a monster performance of 35 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in Thursday’s 99-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Houston lost the contest when Steve Blake drained a late 3-pointer for the Lakers. Paul is off to a great start with averages of 22.5 points and 12.5 assists and has recorded a double-double in each game. Clippers forward Blake Griffin stood out in Thursday’s loss to Miami with 27 points and 14 rebounds.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), CSN Houston
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Clippers (-12.5) - Rockets (-12.0) + Home Court (-3.0) = Rockets -3.5
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (3-3, 4-2 ATS): Paul typically takes over games in the fourth quarter but he acknowledged that he should have acquiesced more to Griffin in the loss to Miami. Griffin made 11-of-15 shots while Paul was only 3-of-11. “That’s another thing that is on me,” Paul said. “We have to go to Blake more. Like I said, I’ll do better. I have to give Blake more touches and get that ball out of my hands.” Griffin is averaging 21.7 points and 11.3 rebounds and already has four 20-point, 10-rebound outings.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (4-2, 3-2-1 ATS): Harden’s ability to get to the free-throw line and Howard’s presence means Houston will get numerous attempts from the line all season. The Rockets were just 33-of-52 in the loss to the Lakers, marking the second time already that they have attempted more than 50 free throws. Houston hadn’t shot 50 free throws in a game since Nov. 24, 2010, prior to this season. Howard was the biggest culprit by making just 5-of-16 against the Lakers. “It wasn’t just Dwight,” said coach Kevin McHale, apparently not recognizing the other Rockets combined to make 77.8 percent. “We didn’t shoot free throws very well and that doesn’t help the cause.”
* Clippers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games.
* Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last four vs. NBA Pacific.
* Over is 7-2 in Clippers' last nine overall.
* Under is 14-4 in Rockets' last 18 home games.
1. Los Angeles has won six of the past seven meetings.
2. The Rockets allowed 16 3-point baskets against the Lakers -- one shy of the record by a Houston opponent.
3. Paul has made 34 consecutive free throws and is 45-for-46 on the season.