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National Basketball Association
Preview
Houston at L.A. Clippers
When: 8:30 PM ET, Sunday, May 10, 2015
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

A blowout win put Los Angeles in the driver’s seat, but the Clippers need another victory to stay there when they host the Houston Rockets in Sunday’s Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead when it broke the game open in the third quarter and rolled to a 124-99 victory over the Rockets on Friday.

Point guard Chris Paul’s hamstring ailment is improving and he’s expected to be in position to increase his minutes on Sunday after contributing 12 points and seven assists in 23 minutes in Game 3. Backup Austin Rivers stole the show for the Clippers by scoring a personal playoff-best 25 points with 16 coming in the pivotal third quarter. Houston’s two losses in the series have been by an average of 20.5 points and center Dwight Howard – averaging 20 points and 13.3 rebounds in the series – hinted that he needs to see more of the basketball. “We have to do a better job of attacking the basket,” Howard told reporters. “When you shoot all 3s, it’s just easy run-outs for them. There is no easy opportunity to crash the boards and it just puts us in a bad position.”

TV:
8:30 p.m. ET, TNT

ABOUT THE ROCKETS: Star guard James Harden attempted 15 free throws in Houston’s win but averaged just 5.5 attempts in the two defeats and is averaging 25.7 points and 10 assists in the series. “I think I could have been a little bit more aggressive,” Harden told reporters about his inability to take over in the two losses. “Just too passive. Just too passive.” Harden could use some help from backup forward Josh Smith, who has been highly unproductive in the series and is averaging eight points on 9-of-31 shooting.

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS: The much-maligned Rivers took over Game 3 and scored 15 of his points during the 20-3 burst that broke open the contest. Part of the criticism hurled his way stems from the fact that his father Doc coaches the club, and Paul was encouraging dad to enjoy his son’s impressive splurge. “Even when C.P. said that, it was like white noise to me,” Doc Rivers told reporters. “(Austin) was just very aggressive and that’s what we’ve been telling him to do. The scoring and all that was great, we love it, but the big picture was we allowed C.P. to get back in this series, feel comfortable and not overextend himself.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Los Angeles PF Blake Griffin had 22 points and 14 rebounds in Game 3 and has 10 consecutive double-doubles this postseason.

2. Houston SF Trevor Ariza is 4-of-17 from 3-point range in the series.

3. SG J.J. Redick recorded a career playoff-best 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting in Game 3 and made 5-of-6 attempts from 3-point range.

PREDICTION: Clippers 119, Rockets 114
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Houston 61-28 W1 34-12 26-16 5-0 56-28 12-9 38-21
L.A. Clippers 61-30 L1 32-13 29-17 10-7 51-23 12-4 42-19
Last Meeting
Houston L.A. Clippers
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
5/6/15 LAC 109 HOU 115 115 54 42.5 109 40 45.3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 32 41.2 15
L.A. Clippers B. Griffin 34 56.5 8
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston D. Howard 16 4 12
L.A. Clippers B. Griffin 15 0 15
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 7
L.A. Clippers M. Barnes 5
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 2517 44.0 818
L.A. Clippers B. Griffin 1862 50.0 397
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston D. Howard 549 142 407
L.A. Clippers D. Jordan 1413 440 973
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 642
L.A. Clippers C. Paul 956
Quickchart Matchup
Houston Off vs  L.A. Clippers Defense
104.6 Points For
100.6 Points Against
44.5 FG%
44.3 FG%
43.8 Reb
43.2 Reb
L.A. Clippers Off vs  Houston Defense
106.6 Points For
101.3 Points Against
47.2 FG%
44.4 FG%
43.2 Reb
44.0 Reb