Rockets News

Houston Rockets Game Day: Prime Time Harden

By Tamberlyn Richardson
3 of 5

Dec 29, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) drives the ball during the fourth quarter as Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) defends at Toyota Center. The Wizards defeated the Rockets 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Bench Mob:

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Full bench stats at

Key Match-up:

Talk about a great All-Star match-up we’ve got one of the fastest players in the Association in John Wall versus top MVP candidate James Harden.

Wall is the reason for the Wizards success utilizing his blazing speed and getting the ball into his bigs’ hands. Harden for his part has carried the Rockets and every time the pundits start forgetting about him he has a night like he did last week dropping a career high 50-points. Let’s not forget he tends to excel in these Sunday Nationally televised games. Just in case you forgot the last 2 times the Rockets were featured on ABC it was the games against Cleveland featuring “the LeBron kick” that Houston won in overtime and Blake Griffin‘s return in which the Rockets made the Clippers look like a lower seed.

We found out how the Rockets plan to address the loss of Patrick Beverley last game with Josh Smith getting substantial touches feeding Howard in the paint and passing out to the perimeter. While Gortat and Nene offer a big interior presence they aren’t the most mobile front court so my gut tells me Howard will play today instead of versus Toronto given the Raptors only have Jonas Valanciunas as the big to be concerned about. The fact Washington rank higher in defense and the Rockets have a grudge match coupled with this being a Nationally televised game makes me think Howard will dress today and rest tomorrow.

Today also marks Trevor Ariza‘s return to the Verizon Center since leaving the team this past summer. Something tells me he’ll be looking to remind the Wizard fans what they’re missing with a big game and great defense on the perimeter. Certainly between himself and Corey Brewer expect them to lock in on Bradley Beal who had a big game (33 points) in their first meeting.

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