Game Day: Houston Rockets versus Washington Wizards
Last time out the Wizards were coming off a game the night prior, tonight the shoe is on the other foot as the Houston Rockets are the team on the second night of a back to back.
And while the Wizards aren’t exactly the same imposing competition as a Spurs or Thunder team they arrive following a ‘players only’ meeting vowing to get their season back on track.
The Wizards squad and John Wall may not have been playing very well through the first half of the season, but periodically pull out convincing wins. The question is which team will arrive on the court tonight?
Lets talk a look at the match-up in our game day countdown:
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston
Game Time: 8:00 PM EST – 7:00 PM CT
TV: ROOT in Houston, CSN in Washington or NBA League Pass
Radio: 790 AM in Houston and WNEW 99.1 in Washington
Last season the teams split the season and in their first meeting this year the Rockets took the opening game in Washington.
December 9th, 2015: HOU 109 – 103 WASH
March 29th: HOU 99-91 WASH
December 29th: WASH 104- 103 HOU
- Gary Neal – leg, game time decision
- Otto Porter – hip, game time decision
- Kris Humphries – knee, out until Feb 1
- Alan Anderson – ankle, out until at least mid Feb. 15
- Clint Capela – thigh, game time decision
- Sam Dekker – back surgery November 20 , will be out 3 months
- Donatas Motiejunas – though he has played the last few games, I wonder if Bickerstaff may rest him for safety purposes tonight.
If Porter can’t go look for Garrett Temple to fill his shoes
The Key Match-up:
While Bradley Beal has been progressively improving James Harden should take this match-up seriously and look to showcase why he is still the top ranked shooting guard in the Association.
Patrick Beverley will have his hands full guarding John Wall who literally is the key cog for the Wizards – – as Wall goes so go his Wiz. With the recent players only meeting held following their last game expect the Wizards backcourt to take ownership for leading their squad back into the playoffs.
The Rockets may catch a lucky break if Otto Porter Jr. is out (listed as questionable) as he’s shown signs of growth this season and makes the Wizards better on both ends with his offensive versatility as well as his size and athleticism on defense.
Keys To Winning:
Defense: The teams look an awful lot alike when you compare them on the page. ie: inconsistent and capable! Both squads have seen last seasons’ defense fall off dramatically, so whichever team brings the effort tonight will hold the advantage.
Force Wall into being a jump shooter: Wall’s shot has looked terrible at times this season and the way to make him less successful is to force him into being a jump shooter. Once he gains penetration in the paint and gets into a groove setting up his teammates it can be a long night for the opponent.
Take advantage of your advantages: Though the Wizards have been trying to push pace and become an offensive juggernaut, so far they’ve fallen short on most nights still ranking in the lower half of the Association. Conversely the Rockets have entered the top ten offenses (8th) in the league.
The odds makers make the Rockets 4.5 point favorites and expect a shoot out predicting an over/under of 218.5 point with heavy action on the Rockets.
Both teams need the win and some players need a bounce back effort (looking at you Mr. Howard), so expect a tightly contested match. Regardless of the players only meeting, the Rockets know they can’t afford to lose any closely matched games (especially at home), so I’m predicting a win by the Rockets via a gritty effort.
For more exciting news and stories on the Washington Wizards visit our affiliate Fansided site: Wiz of Awes Plus check our our Preseason Team Preview of the Wizards :
Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.