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Clippers Now

Preview: Clippers vs. Houston Rockets, Game 1

The Clippers take on the Rockets in Houston to open their second-round playoff series

The Clippers are set to open their second-round playoff series, going on the road against the Houston Rockets on Monday at 6:30 p.m. PDT.

Clippers' superstar point guard Chris Paul is listed as questionable for Game 1 after sustaining a strained left hamstring in the Clippers' 111-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday.

Paul sustained the injury in the last two minutes of the first quarter. He went to the locker room, then checked back into the game with 6 minutes and 27 seconds left in the second quarter.

Visibly hurt through the rest of the night, Paul nevertheless went on to make the game-winning shot with one second remaining in regulation time. He finished with 27 points on nine-for-13 shooting and six assists. He also made five of his six three-point attempts.

After the game, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he was "very" worried about Paul.

"Chris may play or may not play the first game [of the second round]," Rivers said. "... My guess right now, if I had to guess, I would say no, but I'm not sure."

Blake Griffin said Saturday that even if Paul will be out, the Clippers will carry on as usual.

"We're just going to trust the system like we did," Griffin said. "When [Paul] was in the [locker room], we said, 'Come on, we can't feel sorry for ourselves, we've got to strap up and go. We're going to trust our system just like any other game. Nobody is going to do it alone, but we need everybody."

The Clippers will face an added challenge on Monday -- the Rockets have had six days of rest after beating the Dallas Mavericks in five games. The Clippers, on the other hand, are just coming off that grueling Game 7, which featured 31 lead changes and 16 ties.

"For 48 hours it's going to be hard, I will say that," Rivers said. "But we'll be able to catch up on our rest."

The Rockets and the Clippers each won 56 games during the regular season. They split their four games against each other, the Rockets winning the last two. Houston's superstar center, Dwight Howard, did not play in any of the four games against the Clippers this season.

The Clippers will have to focus a lot of their defense on Howard and shooting guard James Harden. In the Rockets' first-round playoff series, Howard averaged 16.6 points and 13.8 rebounds a game. Harden averaged 28.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists in the series.

Harden wasn't quite as effective against the Clippers this season, averaging 20 points a game, a big dip from his season average of 27.4 points a game.

In the Clippers' first-round playoff series, Paul averaged 22.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 7.9 assists. Griffin averaged 24.1 points, 13.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists.

The Clippers will be making their second consecutive Western Conference semifinals appearance. The Rockets have advanced to the second round for the first time since 2009.

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