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Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs: First Matchup Preview

Photos by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Photos by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
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Here’s a preview of the first matchup between the two giants in Texas: The San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets.

The long-standing rivalry continues between the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs. Although, I have a feeling the rivalry is going to be even more intense this season. Because unfortunately, we all know how the NBA playoffs ended for the Rockets.

But it is a new season with some new faces on the roster for the Houston Rockets, more specifically Chris Paul III.

And the Rockets match up nicely against the Spurs. These are the roster projections:

Houston Rockets Starting 5: 

PG: Chris Paul

SG: James Harden

SF: Trevor Ariza

PF: Ryan Anderson

C:  Clint Capela

San Antonio Spurs Starting 5:

PG: Dejounte Murray

SG: Danny Green

SF: Kawhi Leonard

PF: LaMarcus Aldridge

C: Pau Gasol

Analysis: 

Both teams have a solid lineup and match up evenly. This will be a battle on both ends of the court which makes for an extra fun game.

CP3 has about 10 years on Murray in the NBA, so he is more experienced. Although the first matchup is not until December 15th which gives Tony Parker more time to heal, I believe Dejounte Murray is getting the start. Therefore, Paul will put Murray to the test both defensively and offensively.  As for James Harden and Danny Green, this will be fun because Harden is great offensively while Green plays great defense. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top, I am leaning towards Harden.

Backcourt Advantage: Fairly even but leaning towards Houston

Assuming Leonard will be healthy by the first matchup, Ariza matches up nicely with his ability to guard some of the best players. In addition, Ariza is consistent offensively. This will be a close matchup and I am looking forward to it.

Another interesting matchup is that of Clint Capela and Pau Gasol. Capela is a big man, who has improved on both sides of the ball. On the other hand, Gasol is still very effective when he is on the court. He is a great spot-up shooter and does his best to contribute on defense. The one difference between the two is speed/pace, Capela is much faster paced.

Last starters’ matchup is Ryan Anderson and LaMarcus Aldridge: Anderson the great 3-point shooter and Aldridge the defender who allowed his opponents to shoot a low 49.3% from within a six-foot range. So, will Aldridge shut down Anderson enough to win the matchup? We will see.

Frontcourt Advantage: Spurs by a slight margin

Onto the benches:

Rockets main bench unit

Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute, Nene Hilario

Spurs main bench unit

Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, Rudy Gay, Kyle Anderson

To be honest, this is really a toss-up. Both teams are deep and have experienced veteran players, however, the Spurs bench has more experience together as a unit with the only new major addition being Rudy Gay.  However, most of the players on both benches are reliable on offense and defense, which makes this matchup even more intense.  The Rockets main bench can shoot 3s, while Mills and Ginobili are more capable of shooting 3s for the Spurs. 3-point shooting is a major factor of the outcome between these two teams.

Bench Advantage: Houston, by a slight margin

The coaches are a great matchup too. Coach Pop is arguably one of the best coaches in the NBA against Mike D’Antoni, who won Coach of the Year last season. D’Antoni transformed the Rockets offensively during his first season back in the NBA. We can only predict it will improve even more with the assistance of the newly signed CP3.

Season Series Predictions

The Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs will face off four times this season. The first game will be at home at Toyota Center on Dec. 15. This series will be physical, and the outcome will be determined on the offensive end.

Next: Houston Rockets: 5 things we learned from the preseason

I predict a series split of 2-2 but I cannot predict much more because after last year’s playoffs anything is possible.

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