National Basketball Association
Preview
L.A. Clippers at Houston
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, November 28, 2014
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

Houston likely needs to press on shorthanded when it finishes a five-game homestand Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Rockets have won three straight despite missing several key players, including Dwight Howard (knee), Patrick Beverley (hamstring) and Terrence Jones (leg), who has already missed 10 games and has no timetable for a return. All three were absent again in a 102-89 win over Sacramento on Wednesday, as Houston rode 26 points by James Harden to improve to 6-2 at home.

The Rockets will not get any favors from a Clippers squad that seems to be finding its groove, having won four of five, all on their current seven-game road trip. Jamal Crawford scored 25 points and Chris Paul added 23 - 14 in the third quarter - to lift Los Angeles past Detroit by a 104-98 margin on Wednesday. The Clippers, who hit 12 3-pointers and made 18-of-19 free throws, have scored at least 104 points in each of the wins during the road trip.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBATV, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), ROOT Sports Southwest (Houston)

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (9-5): Crawford and Paul combined for 31 of their 48 points in the second half, continuing Los Angeles' trend of closing strong. The Clippers entered Wednesday ranked fifth in the league in second-half scoring and were second in that category on the road with an average of 56 points after the break. They hit that mark on the nose against Detroit to improve to 5-2 away from home overall.

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (12-3): Howard is likely out until Saturday's contest against Milwaukee at the earliest, which leaves more time for Donatas Motiejunas, who has performed well since picking up some of Howard's slack. The Lithuanian had a career-high 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting against Sacramento and is averaging 16 points and 8.7 rebounds over his last three games, during which the 7-footer has played an average of 35.7 minutes. Isaiah Canaan added a career-high 24 points and four steals in his eighth start of the season Wednesday.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Harden's field-goal percentage dipped to 39.2 percent for the season after a 10-of-31 effort against Sacramento.

2. Paul is shooting 63 percent while averaging 23.3 points over a four-game surge.

3. The Clippers have won the last four meetings.

PREDICTION:
Rockets 108, Clippers 106
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
L.A. Clippers 8-5 W1 4-3 4-2 1-2 7-3 2-2 5-4
Houston 11-3 W2 5-2 5-1 1-0 10-3 2-1 6-3
Last Meeting
L.A. Clippers Houston
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/29/14 LAC 118 HOU 107 118 43 47.2 107 49 40.5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
L.A. Clippers C. Paul 30 62.5 5
Houston J. Harden 32 40.9 11
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
L.A. Clippers D. Jordan 12 3 9
Houston O. Asik 11 4 7
Assists Player  
L.A. Clippers C. Paul 12
Houston J. Harden 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
L.A. Clippers B. Griffin 452 48.7 86
Houston J. Harden 459 40.5 159
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
L.A. Clippers D. Jordan 218 53 165
Houston D. Howard 136 38 98
Assists Player  
L.A. Clippers C. Paul 192
Houston J. Harden 112
Quickchart Matchup
L.A. Clippers Off vs  Houston Defense
103.2 Points For
91.7 Points Against
47.2 FG%
41.6 FG%
37.4 Reb
41.5 Reb
Houston Off vs  L.A. Clippers Defense
96.7 Points For
100.5 Points Against
42.0 FG%
45.6 FG%
41.5 Reb
42.2 Reb