Houston Rockets Game Day:
Record: 49-23, Western: 3rd Record: 41-32, Eastern: 5th,
Southwest: 2nd, last ten 7-3 Southeast: 5th, last ten 6-4
Houston Rockets vs.Washington Wizards
Sun Mar 29, 12:30 PM EST – CSNH, CSNB, ABC
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
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- Entering the day the Rockets sit just a half game back of Memphis for the Division lead and second in the West. Later this evening the Grizzlies will face the Spurs in San Antonio. A win in Washington coupled with a loss by Memphis would vault the Rockets up the ladder. The significance of this is the Rockets wouldn’t have to face the reigning Champion Spurs in the first round should the teams stay in their current positions.
- At this point in the season making up two or more games is difficult, so a win would give the Rockets some breathing room over Portland and the Clippers.
- While Washington will definitely make the playoffs they haven’t clinched their spot yet, a win today would clinch their second consecutive post season trip.
- Washington has been up and down since the All-Star break and have had some luck with their schedule coupled with teams resting stars allowing the Wizards to string together a 5-game winning streak. The problem is that winning streak was sandwiched between a 6-game and 4-game losing streak.
- They are comfortably in fifth place with the Raptors sitting in fourth having won the Atlantic Division. While the Raptors will be a top 4-seed it doesn’t guarantee them home court as the records are the deciding factor. For the Wizards the fact Toronto sits fourth makes their job even more difficult as Toronto swept them in the season series so they’ll need to make up the gap plus a game since a tie would go to the Raptors.
- Today marks the third game back for Dwight Howard who coach Kevin McHale is limiting to 20 minutes and under. He won’t play back to back games so he’ll either suit up today or tomorrow in Toronto. He’s progressing easily back into the line-up fitting in well with the system Houston played while he was out. The fact Howard and Josh Smith are good ball handlers is helping the Rockets as it gives them a presence in the paint and opens up their perimeter shooters.
- The teams are in a 3-way tie for fourth best defense in the Association. While the Rockets have been featured for the most part in the top 3 all season with Howard back their defense should improve. Granted they are a little thin upfront without Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas available, however Washington’s Marcin Gortat and Nene have been inconsistent.
- Houston plays again Monday night versus the Raptors while Washington is off until Wednesday so look for the Rockets to try and get out to a quick start in an effort to give their core players some rest in the second half of the game to be fresh heading to Toronto.
- Last time out the Wizards got some friendly whistles in Houston and stole the game. It was a spirited match which provides plenty of fodder for the Rockets to want to seek some revenge today.
Next: Walking Wounded