The Houston Rockets host the Detroit Pistons tonight for game that won’t have too many long-term implications. It is notable, however, that Ryan Anderson could return to action from his ankle injury.
While the Detroit Pistons sit three games out of the playoff picture with only four left to play, the Houston Rockets have clinched the third seed in the Western Conference. What that means is winning tonight wouldn’t affect much of anything for either team. Detroit’s guys are likely more concerned with their summer vacations by this point, and the Rockets want to avoid injury and exhaustion as the postseason approaches.
The only important aspect of tonight’s matchup for Houston is that Ryan Anderson could return to the lineup after missing six games with a sprained ankle. According to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Fiegen, he’s feeling stronger than before and is ready to play.
"“I feel really good,” Anderson said. “We’ve been in the gym for a long time. This is not a rehab situation where you’re just sitting and icing. I feel stronger. I’ve definitely lost weight since I’ve been hurt. I feel really good. I feel like I’m going to be back, ready to go better even than before I was hurt.”"
Mike D’Antoni will want to give the starting lineup a good chance to readjust to playing together before the playoffs begin, so Ryan’s potential return is good news. In his absence, the Rockets haven’t been able to space the floor as well as before. His combination of height and shooting expertise forces defenses to send a big man to the outside, which gives James Harden tons of space to get into the lane.
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In addition to his floor spacing abilities, Anderson’s rebounding also helps his team significantly. He averages almost five boards per game, which can make a big difference in the outcome of a contest. If the Rockets end up playing the Thunder in the first round, he’ll need to be ready to battle big men like Enes Kanter and Steven Adams on the glass.
All things considered, the Houston Rockets have no reason to lose tonight’s game. The Pistons are out of the playoff picture for a reason, and there really isn’t even much for them to play for anymore.
Look for D’Antoni to do a bit of experimenting with lineups and for Houston to cruise to an easy win.
As usual, tip-off will be at 7:00 P.M. CT and the game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports SW.