Houston Rockets Game Day:
Record: 21-47, Eastern: 13, Record: 44-22, Western: 4,
Southeast : 5th, last ten 2-8 Southwest: 2nd, last ten 6-4
Houston Rockets vs Orlando Magic
Tue Mar 17, 8:00 PM EST – CSNH, FSFL, RTSW
Toyota Center – Houston, TX
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all stats via nba.com
- Willie Green was out due to a sore back on Sunday and is listed as day to day
- Devyn Marble remains out indefinitely following retina surgery on his eye
- Evan Fournier has a hip injury and didn’t play Sunday,
- Kostas Papanikolaou remains listed as day to day with an ankle sprain,
- Dwight Howard was updated yesterday to be out for an additional 10 to 14 days as per ESPN
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stats via hoopsstats.com
Orlando boasts some of the best young talent in the league and while they’ve not managed to be among the horde of teams competing for the 7th and 8th seed in the East it’s not much of a stretch to imagine they’ll be in the mix next season. All they need is a key veteran or two and some more experience.
The back court poses issues with Victor Oladipo performing much better from the shooting guard position and Elfrid Payton could join the upper echelon of point guards if he ever develops a consistent shot from the field. Guess we know what his summer homework assignment will be.
Yet the greatest issue for Houston will be Nikola Vucevic who has put up amazing numbers this season that would have found him on the All-Star team had his team been more competitive. Given the Rockets recent rebounding issues and inability to stop bigs it’s fair to project Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas and the other Houston bigs will have their hands full trying to manage Vucevic.
- Nikola Vucevic 19.6 points per game
- Nikola Vucevic 11.2 rebounds per game
- Elfrid Payton 6 assists per game
- Kyle O’Quinn 0.9 blocks per game
- Victor Oladipo 1.7 steals per game
- James Harden 26.9 points per game
- Dwight Howard 11 rebounds per game
- James Harden 7.1 assists per game
- Terrence Jones 1.7 blocks per game
- James Harden 1.9 steals per game
Keys to Winning:
- Push the pace
- With the Magic ranking 26th both offensively and defensively it would seem like a walk in the park for such a strong defensive team however with the current problems in the paint it’s important Houston lock down Vucevic.
- The back court of Payton and Oladipo are young and talented. More importantly they have no conscious and nothing to lose therefore they’ll be playing free and easy. Harden and Beverley should look to force the pace and take advantage of their inexperience early.
The odds makers have the Rockets favored to win by -11.5 points. That’s a pretty big margin however Houston could use a good blow-out win if for no other reason than to get James Harden some well needed rest. Problem is this Magic squad has given the Rockets some issues winning on their court in mid January so there will definitely be motivation to not let one of the lowest ranked teams in the Association sweep the season series. I’m not quite as confident in the blow-out, rather I think a safe number might by Rockets by seven.
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