Rockets vs. Mavs preview: Time to start a new streak
By Michael Knight
The Rockets lost for the first time in 17 games on Friday night, but that shouldn’t stop them from starting a new streak tonight.
The Houston Rockets (51-14) finally lost a game Friday to the Toronto Raptors. Thanks to the Trail Blazers, though, they stay in first in the Western Conference since they beat the Warriors the same night.
The Dallas Mavericks (21-45) are having a miserable season but managed to win last night against the Memphis Grizzlies. They are currently one of the worst teams in the entire league.
The Rockets have won all three meetings so far this year, but the Mavs have actually kept them pretty close. Houston will have to remember to not play down to competition and just take care of business tonight.
Let’s look at the injury report because it’s pretty important tonight:
James Harden is questionable to play tonight with a sore knee. He hurt it last game when DeMar DeRozan accidentally fell into it after a shot attempt. Knowing the Beard, he’ll play if he possibly can. Personally, I’d rather see him sit this one out and get ready for tomorrow night’s game against San Antonio.
Ryan Anderson is still out with his hip issue and Brandan Wright is out with his knee problem.
For the Mavs, rookie Dennis Smith Jr. is expected to play after missing a game with a knee injury.
Projected Starting 5s
Chris Paul/James Harden (or Eric Gordon)/Trevor Ariza/P.J. Tucker/Clint Capela
Dennis Smith Jr./Wesley Matthews/Harrison Barnes/Dirk Nowitzki/Dwight Powell
It will be interesting to see if James Harden sits out tonight. If so, look for Chris Paul to have a huge game against the inner-state foe.
We will see how the Rockets respond after a loss as it’s been some time since that’s happened. After their last long winning streak, they lost five in a row, some of which to easy and beatable opponents.
Clint Capela should be in for a big night against Dwight Powell. Powell is good and young, but Capela is better.
Harrison Barnes has been solid once again for the Mavs this year. Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute will be the ones primarily guarding him, likely, and they will need to do a good job of it.
Be sure to tune in at an earlier time than normal, 6 p.m. CT, on AT&T Sportsnet SW or, if you’re out of the Houston area, Fox Sports SW. Go Rockets!