Tonight, the Houston Rockets will look to right the wrongs from last Friday’s surprising loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
After beating New Orleans in the teams’ first two meetings by a combined 52 points, the Houston Rockets let one slip last week. They shot the ball horribly, didn’t rebound well, and allowed Solomon Hill to have the game of his life. This led to a 128-112 defeat at the hands of the Boogie-less Pelicans.
Since then, James Harden has led his team to two straight victories over the Denver Nuggets, capping things off with a game-winning 94-foot drive to the hole on Monday night. Going into tonight, the Rockets are in every position to win. James Harden is playing the best basketball of his career, they’ve had three full days of rest, and motivation shouldn’t be lacking due to a couple of factors.
The first motivator is that a win tonight will make Houston the third team this season to secure 50 wins. That’ll be a welcome sight after last year’s 41-41 campaign. They’ll get to 50 no matter what, but I am sure it’s been talked about over the past few days in practices. The second impetus to win is that the Rockets will want to avoid losing their 10th game at home. That’s right, there have only been nine Houston losses in the Toyota Center this season. There are still some tough games to be played in that building before playoffs, but keeping home losses in single digits would be an impressive feat.
With that said, the Pelicans won’t go down easy tonight. After sitting out last week with knee soreness, DeMarcus Cousins should be back in action. He and Anthony Davis will likely give Clint Capela and Nene Hilario trouble all night long. The bigger concern there is the fact that Mike D’Antoni will almost assuredly opt not to play two centers together. That means that either Davis or Boogie will be consistently guarded by the likes of Ryan Anderson or Sam Dekker. Yikes.
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The Houston Rockets have faced the Brow-Boogie duo once this season, but it was in the first game after trade deadline. Understandably, they weren’t quite acclimated to playing together.
Tonight will be a big growing up opportunity for a couple of guys on the Rockets’ roster. Both Capela and Dekker show lots of promise on the defensive end, and they’re about to have the chance to prove themselves.
The Pelicans boast two of the best centers in the game of basketball, and they’re eager to show the world that the pairing can work. It hasn’t panned out yet, but a win over the third-seeded Rockets would go a long way in convincing the skeptics.
With all things considered, both teams will have plenty of desire to win tonight. It will likely be a hard-fought game with a score much more even than the first three matchups. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CST on ROOT Sports SW. Go Rockets!
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