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Clippers, Rockets Set For Game 7 In Houston On Sunday

Posted by on 5/16/2015 8:26:19 AM

The Los Angeles Clippers appeared to have booked their spot in the Western Conference Finals when they took a 19-point lead on the Houston Rockets in Game 6 while up 3-2 in their second round series. Then the Rockets bench took over with Corey Brewer leading the way and Houston rallied furiously to stun Los Angeles 119-107 and force Game 7. The series shifts back to the Lone Star state for the decisive game of the series and the biggest question now has to whether or not the Clippers can bounce back from consecutive losses with the Rockets seemingly carrying all of the momentum and confidence they need heading in to Game 7.

Western Conference Semi-Finals – Game 7

Los Angeles Clippers @ Houston Rockets

Sunday May 17, 2015 – TBD

Best-of-7 Series Tied 3-3

What The Clippers Must Do To Win

The most important thing for Los Angeles has to be putting the disappointment of the Game 6 loss in the past where it belongs and not allowing it to shake their confidence heading in to the deciding game of the series. This is the same Clippers team that just knocked out the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs despite facing some notable adversity in the opening round and now they have a chance to make a statement by taking down Houston. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin combined for 59 points in Game 6 but their bench was awful with Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers in particular combining for just 14 points on 14-of-32 shooting from the field. Doc Rivers will likely lean heavily on his starters in this game but when called upon both Crawford and Rivers simply have to be better for Los Angeles to have a chance. Griffin and Paul both showed up in Game 7 versus San Antonio in the opening round and there is no reason to expect anything less than their best in this Game 7 versus the Rockets.

What The Rockets Must Do To Win

Unlike the Clippers, it’s hard to say for sure what to expect from James Harden in Game 7 after he spent the majority of the fourth quarter of Game 6 on the bench while Brewer and company lit it up. Brewer’s 19 points were more than the entire Los Angeles bench and more than DeAndre Jordan and Matt Barnes combined so there is a good chance if Kevin McHale doesn’t like what he sees from his starters they turn to Brewer and Terrence Jones off the bench. However, even if Brewer and Jones match their production from Game 6 this Rockets’ team still needs more out of Harden and its star players. Harden and Trevor Ariza were a combined 11-for-34 from the field in Game 6 and they will have to be much better than that in order to put the Clippers away in Game 7.

Outlook & Pick

Houston deserves a ton of credit for the way it fought back on the road in Game 6 just to force this Game 7 but the reality is that Harden and the starters have been far too inconsistent in this series and need to be a lot better to win this finale. Griffin and Paul have both elevated their games in the playoffs and if the Clippers can go back to what worked so well for them in the first three quarters of Game 6 they will be tough to beat. Los Angeles has already been pushed to the limit against a very good San Antonio team in the opening round and if they build a big second-half lead in this game they won’t allow the Rockets bench to rally back and steal the series.

Pick: Los Angeles Clippers

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