Rockets vs. 76ers preview: Houston down 2 starters
By Michael Knight
The Rockets come into this matchup down 2 starters against a young Sixers team.
The Houston Rockets (3-1) are looking to bounce back after a tough loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. In that game, the Grizzlies beat the Rockets 98-90, including a 10-point comeback in the 4th quarter.
The Philadelphia 76ers (1-3) won their first game of the season last time out against the Detroit Pistons. Rookie Ben Simmons has looked good early on and will try to keep it going tonight.
The game tonight will be at 6 p.m. CT at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. It will be on AT&T Sportsnet.
Let’s look at the injury report because there are some big names on both sides:
For the Rockets, Chris Paul remains out as he will for at least a couple weeks, if not more. Guard Isaiah Canaan was recently signed to help the team out during his absence. He could play tonight.
Trevor Ariza is the latest Rocket to join the Injury Report. He will sit out tonight after spraining his right foot on Monday. Luc Mbah a Moute will get the start in his place.
Nene Hilario also will be out for Houston. He has a sore left Achilles.
For Philadelphia, the No. 1 overall pick this year, Markelle Fultz, will miss the next 3 games with a shoulder injury. Will Philly ever have a rookie that doesn’t get injured? Also, Richaun Holmes remains out with a fractured wrist.
Projected Starting 5
James Harden/Eric Gordon/Luc Mbah a Moute/Ryan Anderson/Clint Capela
Eric Gordon will look to continue his hot start to the season. He is averaging 23.5 points per game in his first 4 outings.
Jerrod Bayless/J.J. Reddick/Ben Simmons/Robert Covington/Joel Embiid
Last game, Ben Simmons posted the first triple-double of his career in just his 4th game. He has a solid future ahead of him.
Keys to the game for the Rockets
Limit Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid is a monster in the paint and is tough to stop. Clint Capela will need to play solid defense on him tonight and hope to limit him. Making him shoot contested 3s instead of pulling out the post moves will be necessary.
Hit the dang 3-point shot
The Rockets have not had a good start from behind the arc this year. The team is shooting just 28% from 3 so far and need to turn that around. That leads into our next key to the game:
The ball movement to start games is normally pretty great for the Rockets. However, as the games progress, the offense turns more into a Harden/Gordon isolation game. While that is certainly not bad offense sometimes, the Rockets need to mix in a little more ball movement. This has been an issue for years with the Rockets. Hopefully, they can move the ball better late in tonight’s game. That will certainly help them come out victorious.
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