Houston Rockets vs Cleveland Cavaliers Preview

By Michael Ma

Jan 5, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (left) and small forward Alonzo Gee (33) go after a loose ball against Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Here are some key points for the Houston Rockets as they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday night:

A Lost Season

After a brutal 7-game stretch against the NBA’s elite teams, the Rockets are playing their 3rd straight sub-500 team. The Rockets took care of business in blowout wins over the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves, and they will need the same mindset again.

The Cavs have been nothing short of a disappointment this season, and will come in to the game with several key players out: Kyrie Irving, Luol Deng, C.J. Miles, and Anthony Bennett. Deng is listed as questionable and could play.

No Dwight?

Omer Asik has looked like himself from a year ago in the past 2 games with Dwight Howard out, recording a double-double against the Jazz(12 points, 11 rebounds) and putting up a solid 10 points and 5 rebounds against the Wolves. However, the Cavs are the ranked 1st in the NBA, holding opponents to just 42 percent shooting from the field.

Earlier this week, the Cavs held the Miami Heat to just 26 percent shooting before Lebron James and company squeaked by with a 100-96 win.

Without a capable low post presence if Howard is unable to go, the outside shot might be what determines the outcome for the Rockets.

Tip: 6 PM CT

TV: CSN Houston

Updated Western Conference Standings:

3rd- Los Angeles Clippers(48-21)

4th-Houston Rockets(46-22)

5th-Portland Trail Blazers(45-24)

6th-Golden State Warriors(44-26)

If the playoffs started today, the Rockets would matchup up with the Blazers in the first round, who they’ve beat 3 out of 4 times this season. They’re 0-3 against the Clippers, and 2-1 against the Warriors.