Dec 29, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Wizards forward Rasual Butler (8) and Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) attempt to get a loose ball during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The odds makers have Houston favored to take the match by 2.5 points. Generally home squads get an automatic 1.5 consideration so they obviously feel this will be a close match. Personally I’m not so sure that will be the case. I think regardless of whether Howard plays or rests it will be Houston’s day – all day. Harden literally gets amped for the prime time coverage and I expect the same to occur again today.
Harden is a smart player who rises to the occasion, and has shown himself to be extremely focused in reaching specific goals whether they be personal or team oriented. To that end, he knows they play again tomorrow night in Toronto so he’ll want to end this one early to get himself and his team mates some rest. Look for Houston to jump on Washington early to achieve that goal.
The second and perhaps more important goal is a win today will tie them with Memphis for first in the Southwest Division. Further Memphis plays in San Antonio later tonight and a loss by the Grizzlies coupled with a win by Houston would find the Rockets moving into sole possession of the Division and second place in the West.
Finally Harden isn’t the kind of guy who forgets being punked and the first time Houston played Washington this season he was visibly upset by some plays that occurred in that game. Expect Harden to utilize the National TV coverage to get his and his Rockets squad revenge for all of America and the NBA loving fans to witness first hand.
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