The Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets aren't exactly living up to expectations so far this season. The two teams are a combined 11-16 so far, and defensive issues are showing. Neither the Clippers nor the Rockets have a winning record at the moment, and each are in the middle of a little losing streak.

The Rockets defense has been atrocious this year ranking 28th in points allowed. This team has allowed more than 100 points in nearly every game this season, and not surprisingly, Kevin McHale was recently fired as head coach. James Harden is obviously one of the best scorers in the league, but he continues to get criticized because of his defensive play. Dwight Howard hasn't been 100 percent healthy, and he doesn't look like himself so far this year.

As of now the Rockets are the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference with a 5-9 record. The Rockets have dropped six of their last seven games, and many fans are beginning to wonder if they will even make the playoffs. The Rockets have made the postseason the last three consecutive seasons, and just last year they were in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

The Rockets certainly have the talent to turn things around, but will they? Ball movement has to improve for the Rockets to get back to .500. Don't be surprised if the Rockets make some moves before the NBA trade deadline, possibly for another point guard or a better defensive player.

Staying in the Western Conference, the Clippers are also south of .500. Like the Rockets, defense has been the chief concern. The Clippers rank 26th in points allowed, and they've now lost their last three consecutive games. With so much talent on the roster, many NBA experts are beginning to question if Doc Rivers is still the right man for the job.

The Clippers once again failed to beat the Golden State Warriors, this time at home. The Clippers had a commanding lead in the second half, but proceeded to allow 70 points in the third and fourth quarters combined. One has to wonder; if the Clippers couldn't beat the Warriors at home with a 20-point lead, when will they beat them? Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks may have actually been the winners in the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes. Jordan isn't a reliable enough offensive player, and the Mavericks are currently in third place in the West.

The Clippers are presently the No. 7 seed in the West despite their 6-7 record, but that's going to have to improve if they want home court advantage in the playoffs. The road to the championship is going to run through Golden State or San Antonio. As good as Blake Griffin has been, and he has improved every year, he needs to start becoming a much better rim protector. The Clippers have never made it to the conference finals in franchise history, and if they fail to do so again this year, we could see major changes.

Fortunately for both the Rockets and Clippers, plenty of time still remains. The Clippers had higher expectations than the Rockets this year, but the Rockets have more questions going forward, especially given the fact that they fired their head coach.

 Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1