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CLIPPERS VS. HOUSTON ROCKETS.

Tipoff: 5:30 p.m., the Summit

TV/Radio: Channel 9; KNEWS (540/1260)

Clippers (11-19) update: What a place to start a key five-game road trip, where the Clippers haven't won in more than 10 years. Los Angeles has lost in Houston 20 straight times dating back to 1986, when Bill Fitch was coach of the Rockets. This time Fitch will direct the Clippers, who are beginning to heal from injuries. Pooh Richardson practiced on Thursday after missing eight games with a sprained ankle. Darrick Martin, who scored 38 points in the 115-101 win over Utah, will get the start at point guard. Lorenzen Wright will get another dose of education at center when he faces Hakeem Olajuwon. Wright is playing the best ball of his rookie season and has scored 29 points in the past two games.

Rockets (24-7) update: Houston is off to another fast start but has been very average (5-5) in the past 10 games. The Rockets are coming off a shocking 112-96 loss to Portland. The big three, Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Charles Barkley, are playing a combined 38.1 minutes per game, which is too many. Barkley is playing 41 minutes and averaging 15.5 rebounds along with 20.8 points. He'll give Loy Vaught major trouble. Houston's problems have been at point guard, where it is depending on rookie Randy Livingston and Matt Maloney. They combined for 47 minutes against the Blazers and had three points. Think they could use Kenny Smith?
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 4, 1997
Words:251
Previous Article:USC NOTEBOOK : TROJANS BULKING UP INSIDE, AND IT'S HELPING.
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