Blake Griffin and the Clippers are eyeing a chance to take a 3-1 edge in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
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The Houston Rockets take on the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
The Clippers are coming off a dominating performance on Friday in which they beat the Rockets 124-99 – the largest margin of victory by either team in the series thus far. The difference between the Clippers and Rocket in the series though has been the offense: The Clippers have averaged over 115 points in each game while the Rockets have averaged just under 105. The main advantage the Clippers have had in the first three games has been the other-worldly play of F Blake Griffin, who started the series with back-to-back triple-doubles and recorded his third straight double-double in Friday’s win. The return of star G Chris Paul was also a boon for the Clippers, who now have their big three in relatively perfect health after missing Paul for the first two games of the series.
The Rockets have gotten plenty of points out of G James Harden and C Dwight Howard, but it hasn’t been enough to consistently give them the big leads they need to keep the Clippers out of the game. In the Game 3 loss, the team made less than 40% of their FGs – usually a good enough rate – but compared to the Clippers’ astounding 55% conversion rate – not to mention their dominance at the free throw line, spelled doom for the Rockets. Dwight Howard will need to fix his issues at the free throw line in order to give the Rockets a chance to make some noise and avoid falling into the dreaded 3-1 hole in the series.
Unfortunately for Houston, with Los Angeles hosting the next game again, it’s hard to imagine the Rockets suddenly turning it around in the face of the resurgent Clippers in time to avoid the loss.
Prediction: Clippers win Game 4 – Blake Griffin is going to be Blake Griffin and Chris Paul looks like he’s hardly missed a beat since missing those first two games of the series due to injury. As long as the Clippers keep their accuracy at about the same rate it’s been in the last few games, they should be able to get the home sweep and head to Houston with a 3-1 lead.