Chris Paul's return to Los Angeles was marred by an ugly fight, leaving his status in doubt when his Houston Rockets take on the host Clippers on Sunday. The Rockets opened their two-day, two-game visit to the City of Angels with a 124-115 win over the Lakers on Saturday, a contest that featured a melee late in the fourth quarter in which Paul and Lakers guard Rajon Rondo exchanged punches.
Reigning MVP James Harden scored nine of his 37 points after the fisticuffs with just over four minutes remaining as Houston bounced back from a season-opening loss to New Orleans. The Clippers will be capping their season-opening three-game homestand after splitting the first two contests. Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris scored 26 points apiece and 7-3 center Boban Marjanovic recorded 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead a late rally in Friday's 108-92 win over Oklahoma City. Guard Patrick Beverley, who played his first five seasons with the Rockets before being shipped to Los Angeles in the trade for Paul in 2017, will be facing his former team for the first time.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, AT&T Sportsnet-Southwest (Houston), Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (1-1): Paul, the Clippers' all-time leader in assists, recorded 28 points and 10 assists before his ejection and coach Mike D'Antoni was taking a wait-and-see approach in regard to a possible suspension of his star point guard. "The NBA will sort it out. It was some heated stuff. I'm sure some spit was thrown (by Rondo)," D'Antoni told reporters. Clint Capela joined Paul in the double-double category with 19 points and 12 rebounds while Gerald Green came off the bench to make 5-of-6 shots - 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (1-1): Marjanovic played sparingly for the Clippers last season after coming over from Detroit in the deal for Blake Griffin, but he's been among the most productive players in the NBA early on with averages of 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in just 17 minutes. "Him down there, that's a pretty efficient shot getting a layup or a dunk," Harris told reporters of the ease with which the big man has controlled the interior. Including the preseason, Marjanovic is 33-for-44 from the floor over a span of seven games.
1. Gallinari has made 8-of-12 3-pointers.
2. Rockets SF Carmelo Anthony shot 3-for-10 for the second straight game Saturday, but he hauled in 10 rebounds and posted a plus-23 rating.
3. The teams split their four meetings last season.
PREDICTION: Rockets 110, Clippers 108 Bet Now
See all the NBA basketball Predictions
|James Ennis III||Position: Forward (F) |
|PJ Tucker||Position: Forward (F) |
|Clint Capela||Position: Center (C) |
|Eric Gordon||Position: Guard (G) |
|James Harden||Position: Guard (G) |
|Tobias Harris||Position: Forward (F) |
|Danilo Gallinari||Position: Forward (F) |
|Marcin Gortat||Position: Center (C) |
|Patrick Beverley||Position: Guard (G) |
|Avery Bradley||Position: Guard (G) |
|Luc Mbah a Moute|