Head coach Kevin McHale has decided to start both Dwight Howard and Omer Asik for the 2nd straight game in the Houston Rockets’s pre-season game against the San Antonio Spurs Thursday night. In Monday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks, both Howard and Asik were on the floor to start the game, and both turned in productive numbers, but looked shaky together at first. Howard finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds, while Asik chipped in 4 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.
While the Spurs may rest some of their starters, including Tim Duncan, it will still be a good test to see how the tandem will look against the team who also plays at an up-tempo pace. Despite the age of their core players with Duncan at 37, Manu Ginobili at 36, and Tony Parker at 31, the Spurs still finished in the top 5 in points per game last season.
“It will be good for us to get those reps together, to play with each other,” Howard said. “This will be the second game with both of us starting. It’s a little bit different for us, but I think we’ll make it work.”
One key thing to watch for is how the Rockets offense as a whole will look while the two are on the floor together. At the beginning of the 3rd quarter in Monday’s game, the Rockets turned the ball over on 8 possessions in the first 6 minutes, as there were problems with spacing out the floor. It’s an experiment that’s still a work in progress, and Asik himself, is not completely in game condition after missing the first 4 pre-season games due to an injured calf.
The Rockets are 4-1 so far in the pre-season, while the Spurs come in at 3-3.