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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
- Ryan Anderson 4-years, $80M exits Pelicans
- Eric Gordon 4-years, $53M exits Pelicans
- Nene Hilario on a 1 year, $2.9M exits Wizards
- Pablo Prigioni on a 2-year veteran minimum deal exits Clippers
- Tyler Ennis on a trade that sent Michael Beasley to the Bucks
- James Harden signed 4-year, $118M contract extension
- 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
Pelicans Summer Moves:
Round 1: Buddy Hield (6)
Round 2: Cheick Diallo (33)
- E’Twaun Moore 4-year, $34M from
- Solomon Hill 4-years, $52M from Pacers
- Langston Galloway 2-years (undisclosed financials) from Knicks
- Terrence Jones signs a 1-year deal exits Houston
- Robert Sacre signs summer league/training camp contract
- Ryan Anderson 4-years, $80M to Rockets
- Eric Gordon 4-years, $53M to Rockets
- Jordan Hamilton signed overseas
- 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.
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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 up in the preseason schedule the Rockets play the Pelicans again, this time in Beijing, China on Wednesday October 12th.