Although pre-season records don’t usually dictate regular season success, coach Kevin McHale likes a lot of what he’s seeing as his Houston Rockets have got off to a 3-1 start in exhibition play. While things are turning back to normalcy after the recent trip to Asia, the Rockets return home to Toyota Center to face the Dallas Mavericks. Things on the court, are returning to back to normal as well as the Rockets are finally almost completely healthy from injuries.
Omer Asik was able to practice for the first time late last week and is slated to make his pre-season debut. McHale plans to have him in the starting lineup, right alongside Dwight Howard. Greg Smith will also be available after missing time with an injured hip, and Jeremy Lin, who missed Wednesday’s matchup against the Orlando Magic with a sinus infection, will start.
Another Potential Power Forward
For the 5th game in a row, the Rockets will start another play at the power forward position. This time, it’s Dwight Howard as the Howard/Asik experiment will debut. Terrence Jones has seen the most success as a starter while both Donatas Motiejunas and Omri Casspi have played well off the bench, but not so much when in the starting lineup. If the twin tower tandem sees any type of success, then expect to see more of it as the pre-season winds down.
The Rockets have scored points at a rapid pace throughout the pre-season, as they’ve cracked the 100 point mark in each of the first 4 games. With Jeremy Lin in the starting lineup, and Patrick Beverley coming off the bench, it’ll be interesting to see if the second unit can keep up with the offensive production of the starting units. Isaiah Canaan, Robert Covington, and Reggie Williams are 3 players who could get some extended minutes, as they haven’t had too many looks so far. With 3 games remaining before the Rockets have to make cuts, they are valuable minutes available for all reserves.
Time: 7:00 PM CST
TV: CSN Houston, NBATV