The Los Angeles Clippers will head deep into the heart of Texas tonight to face off against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Viewers can watch the Clippers vs. Rockets game via live stream - free for subscribers - below.
According to Robert Morales of Long Beach Press-Telegram, it will be first of four games on the road for the Clippers (37-20). The team will have a daunting challenge ahead of them, given that the Rockets (38-18) are in third place in the Western Conference and have potential MVP candidate James Harden.
"James is one of the few guys in the league that you cannot guard with one person. James is the leading scorer in the league right now," Clippers guard Chris Paul said about Harden. "He is like one of those guys, like (Russell Westbrook), LeBron (James) and Kevin Durant."
Paul told Morales that Harden could be slowed down on the basketball court through the use of "team defense."
"He can score in so many different ways, so you have to defend him with the entire team," Paul said.
Morales reported that Harden, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who originally graduated out of Artesia High School, currently averages a league-high 27.3 points along with 6.8 assists and 5.8 rebounds. Harden started his college basketball career at Arizona State before being drafted to the NBA in 2009 by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Harden explained to Jeff Bartl of AP Sports/STATS the strategy that he would use with the rest of the Rockets to propel his team to victory.
"When I get my teammates confident to shoot their shots and be aggressive and get them in their rhythm, I can get into mine and that makes everything easy," Harden said.
However, Bartl reported that since Harden joined the Rockets, the team has lost seven games so far against the Clippers. He's averaged 17.9 points within those games.
"He's shooting 35.5 percent from the field - 5 for 41 from 3-point range - during Houston's six-game skid against Los Angeles, and has averaged 5.5 turnovers in his last four in the series," Bartl wrote. "Harden hit 5 of 12 from the floor and finished with 16 points in a 102-85 loss Nov. 28 before finishing 3 of 12 in a 110-95 defeat Feb. 11."
Although the Clippers may seem to have the advantage against Houston, the team will have to score a victory without Blake Griffin. That's because he's been sidelined indefinitely to remove a staph infection via surgery according to Bartl.
"Without Blake ... we're going to be more of a jump-shot-shooting team right now," Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said. "I would've liked to drive the ball more."
Rivers emphasized that the Clippers would have to work on improving their gameplay. In their most recent game, they lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 90-87 on Monday.
"I did not like the way we played overall," Rivers said of the game against Memphis. "We had a lot of fouls, so it was hard to get a good pace. I did not like our movement offensively. This was more of a dribble game for us."
According to Bartl, Harden will get some help from Rockets forward Terrence Jones to guide their team to a win on home court.
"He's doing everything," Harden said. "That gives us another option on the court."
Tonight's game will air at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. While subscriptions and logins are required, online viewers can officially stream the game on WatchESPN.com or access it on various devices through the WatchESPN app.