Houston is down 0-1 to the Clippers in the best-of-seven series.
When the Rockets dropped Game 1 on Monday night, they lost their home-court advantage and were left having to answer questions about their lack of energy and effort.
Nevertheless, “we’re not really thinking about leaving here 0-2,” Trevor Ariza said after Houston’s shoot-around Wednesday morning. “We felt like we let one slip away because of our mistakes, turning the ball over. Tonight, we expect to be a lot better. We expect to take care of the ball better and play with more energy.”
The Rockets turned the ball over a season-high 24 times in Game 1, and they didn’t even have to face Clippers star point guard Chris Paul, who sat out the first game with a strained left hamstring.
Before the Clippers had their shoot-around Wednesday, Coach Doc Rivers said he still wasn’t sure if Paul was going to play in Game 2.
“I know he wants to play,” Rivers said. “But I’ve just got to wait and see.”
With Paul out, Austin Rivers started in Game 1 and scored 17 points.
“For us, it doesn’t matter who plays,” Houston’s Corey Brewer said. “They kicked our butts that first game. So we’ve got to come out and we’ve got to come out and get a win.”
The Rockets will also have to do a better job against Blake Griffin, who had his second straight triple-double, dropping 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists on the Rockets.
“It’s basically a team effort,” Houston forward Josh Smith said about trying to slow down Griffin. “Just make him work a little bit more, because he’s going to get his touches. That’s what involves their offense, is him and mainly Chris Paul when he plays. So it’s just being able to try to make his catches difficult and make him work a little bit more.”