Rockets News

Houston Rockets Game Day vs New Orleans Pelicans, 09.10.16

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Oct 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Buddy Hield (24) during the second half of a game against the Indiana Pacers at the Smoothie King Center. The Pacers defeated the Pelicans 113-96. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Buddy Hield (24) during the second half of a game against the Indiana Pacers at the Smoothie King Center. The Pacers defeated the Pelicans 113-96. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
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Oct 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Buddy Hield (24) during the second half of a game against the Indiana Pacers at the Smoothie King Center. The Pacers defeated the Pelicans 113-96. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets continue their preseason games with 2 games in China versus the New Orleans Pelicans.

Through their first two preseason games the Houston Rockets have put on an offensive show.  H-Town has bested both opponents by 30 points giving credence to the belief Mike D’Antoni‘s squad will be among the Association’s best offenses.  Houston’s defense however has looked equally as sharp.

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Granted this is preseason and the Houston Rockets have yet to face an equally strong  offensive squad. That ends today as their opponent has also shone offensively this preseason averaging 106 points per game. Anthony Davis and his New Orleans Pelicans seem to have adopted Alvin Gentry’s system and it’s translating into offensive outbursts thus far.

Through two games with  James Harden in the starting point guard role the bearded man  has looked sharp. Harden has garnered back to back double-doubles and is making D’Antoni’s prediction he’ll average double digit assists appear logical.  Specifically Harden’s ability to penetrate the paint and find open shooters is proving difficult to stop.

Of course the main story line heading into these 2 games in China will be the numerous players who swapped jerseys this off season.

Next: Intersecting Story Lines

Dec 25, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (left) fouls Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (center) as Pelicans guard Eric Gordon (right) defends in the second half of a NBA basketball game on Christmas at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 94-88 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Surely when the preseason games were set up it was no coincidence the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans were the two teams earmarked for the China trip.

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Notably several players from the 2 teams entered free agency and now will line up to face their former squads.

The two biggest names in this player swap are Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon who signed deals with the Houston Rockets. Anderson spent 4 injury riddled season with the Pelicans and Gordon spent 5 years there.

On the opposite side Terrence Jones exited Houston to sign a deal in New Orleans and joins former Rocket Omer Asik.

The other obvious story line is Yao Ming who played for the Rockets for 7 seasons and recently was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  The Rockets kicked off their preseason against Ming’s Shanghai Sharks.

Next: Depth Chart

Oct 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Terrence Jones (9) drives past Indiana Pacers forward Georges Niang (32) during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Pacers defeated the Pelicans 113-96. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Starting line-ups tend to change throughout the preseason though the Houston Rockets have been fairly consistent. Factor in injuries and there could be some players who don’t play or are seen only in limited minutes.

Starting Line-Ups:

Houston Rockets:

Point Guard: James Harden

Shooting Guard: Eric Gordon

Small Forward: Trevor Ariza

Power Forward: Ryan Anderson

Center: Clint Capela

Rockets Depth Chart:

Point Guard: Tyler Ennis, Pablo Prigioni, Bobby Brown,

Shooting Guard: K.J. McDaniels, Gary Payton II, Isaiah Taylor

Small Forward: Sam Dekker, Corey Brewer, P.J. Hairston

Power Forward: Kyle Wiltjer, Montrezl Harrell

Center: Nene Hilario, Chinanu Onuaku

Pelicans Starting Line-up:

Point Guard: Either Tim Frazier or Langston Galloway (with Jrue Hill out taking care of his wife, and Evans still out with injury Gentry has been mixing up the starting role)

Shooting Guard: E’Twaun Moore

Small Forward: Solomon Hill

Power Forward: Anthony Davis

Center: Alexis Ajinca

Pelicans Depth Chart:

Point Guard: Quinn Cook, Langston Galloway

Shooting Guard:  Buddy Hield, Lance Stephenson, Shawn Dawson, Alonzo Gee

Small Forward: Chris Copeland

Power Forward: Terrence Jones, Cheick Diallo, Dante Cunningham

Center: Omer Asik

Next: Game Particulars

Mar 14, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (33) dribbles the ball as Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) defends in the second half at Oracle Arena. The Warriors won 125-107. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the particulars for the Houston Rockets versus the New Orleans Pelicans Sunday Game.

Walking Wounded:

Pelicans:  New Orleans picks up exactly where they left off last season with numerous injuries to contend with:

Jrue Holiday remains out to be with his wife who is dealing with brain cancer

Tyreke Evans is still recovering from a knee injury sustained last season. Rotoworld notes Evans said he sustained a blood clot in his calf following his most recent knee surgery. Evans will be out until December at a minimum.

Terrence Jones is questionable for Sunday with a right knee contusion

Robert Sacre: Right foot – won’t play in Sunday’s game.

Quincy Pondexter: Will be out until at least November with his knee injury.

Alexis Ajinca: Suffered back spasms, but is listed as probable for Sunday

Rockets:

Patrick Beverley did not travel with the team due to his own knee issues

Donatas Motiejunas remains unsigned and therefore did not travel with the team

Venue:

Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai, China

Radio and Television Providers:

In Houston and Area: Root Sports

Nationally: NBA TV

Worldwide: NBA League Pass

Game Time: 6:30 AM CT and 7:30 AM EST

Next: Summer Roster Moves

Nov 13, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon (10) dribbles the ball against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated New Orleans 100-81. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon (10) dribbles the ball against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated New Orleans 100-81. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 13, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon (10) dribbles the ball against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated New Orleans 100-81. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

A look at the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans offers insight into the 2 teams changes from last season.

Rockets Summer Moves:

Draft Picks :

Round 2: Chinanu Onuaku (37), Zhou Qi (43)

Rookies signed after draft: Gary Payton II signed for 3yrs, Kyle Wiltjer and Isaiah Taylor

Incoming:

Extended:

Exiting: 

  • Dwight Howard agrees to 3-year $70.5M deal with Hawks
  • Terrence Jones signed a 1-year deal with Pelicans
  • Jason Terry signs 1-year veteran minimum deal with Bucks
  • Michael Beasley traded to Bucks in exchange for Tyler Ennis

RFA Qualifying Offer:

  • Donatas Motiejunas Rockets extended qualifying offer which expired October 1st, remains unresolved

Unresolved:

Pelicans Summer Moves:

Draft Picks:

Round 1: Buddy Hield (6)

Round 2: Cheick Diallo (33)

Incoming:

Exiting:

Re-upping:

Unresolved:

  • Norris Cole
  • Kendrick Perkins

Next: Keys to Game

Mar 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (33) argues a call with official Brent Barnaky (70) while playing against the Houston Rockets in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Next up in the preseason schedule the Houston Rockets play the Pelicans again, this time in Beijing, China on Wednesday October 12th.

More from Space City Scoop

Former players: All eyes will be on the former players from both teams. How will Anderson and Gordon perform against the Pelicans? How will Terrence Jones exact his revenge on the Rockets (if he plays given his injury may keep him out).

Buddy Hield: This will be the first look the Rockets get of rookie sensation Buddy Hield. Through 2 games Hield has been performing well on the offensive end of the court scoring 18 and 19 points.  The rookie has been less consistent on the defensive side of the floor splitting one good game (+19) with one bad defensive effort (-19).

Is the Rockets offense here to stay? After 2 consecutive 130 point scoring out bursts, H-Town fans are wondering if every game will be as exciting.

Hidden Gem: While the Rockets have been padding the score boards, Houston’s improvement on defense has flown under the radar.  Keep an eye out for how the Rockets defend the perimeter and transition where they’ve shown positive strides.

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Next: Rockets goats and G.O.A.Ts from victory over Knicks

Next up in the preseason schedule the Rockets play the Pelicans again, this time in Beijing, China on Wednesday October 12th.

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