Houston Rockets Receive 3rd Most Nationally Televised Games in the League

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Rockets’ schedule was released for the upcoming season and they are playing the third most games on national tv. Here are the games I’m most looking forward to seeing them play on each network!

The Rockets are always in the media, but not always for the right reasons. The national attention the Rockets usually draw is negativity and never-ending criticism. However, they are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the Western Conference and deserve national recognition.

The schedule for next season was released today and Houston will have a total of 38 nationally televised games, which is the same number they had last year.

This year, the Rockets’ 38 nationally televised games are tied for the third most in the league with the Los Angeles Clippers. Granted, these nationally televised games will largely consist of the same match-ups, as 18 of these games are against the same 5 opponents, as 4 games are against the Clippers, 3 games are against the Lakers, 4 games are against the Warriors, 3 games are against the Pelicans and 4 games are against the Trail Blazers. So it will often be the same match-ups over and over but it’s good the Rockets are getting the most national love in the league. This seems long overdue as Houston has been one of the better teams in the league for the last 4 years and are even picked to win the West by Five Thirty-Eight.

The other caveat is that the Rockets are playing 12 games on NBA TV, which will be blacked out for Houstonians. On the flip side, however, Rockets fans around the country will be able to see these games the Rockets play on NBA TV, so it’s not all entirely bad.

Houston is also playing on both Christmas and Martin Luther King Day, which makes the third straight year the Rockets will be playing on both holidays as well. It’s easy to see why Houston would be must-see tv this season, as they’ve got a backcourt comprised of 2 former MVPs. Russell Westbrook is a highlight machine and who also can be on either end of a lob. Then, you’ve obviously got James Harden, who has proved he’s beyond unguardable and is a walking 30+ point scorer. Harden also hinted at his plans to add another move to his arsenal, similar to how he’s mastered the step-back. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wonders what that will look like.

On the flip side, however, we also can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that many in the national media are waiting and hoping for the Westbrook/Harden experiment to fail, so they can offer that as proof that the Rockets were dumb to think it would work. Those naysayers will be waiting to say “I told you so” and that the Rockets missed their shot at winning a title. The good thing is the Rockets have plenty of opportunities to show them otherwise.

Rockets on TNT

The Rockets play 10 games on TNT, which are against Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Clippers (twice), Oklahoma City, the Los Angeles Lakers (twice), Boston, Golden State (twice) and Philadelphia. The game I’m most looking forward to out of this slate is of course against Oklahoma City, which is also in Oklahoma City.

I’m not expecting the Thunder to be a playoff team by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m expecting Chris Paul to come out and play with a vengeance. I’m sure he will be eager to prove the Rockets what he still has left in the tank and that they shouldn’t have traded him away. On the flip side, I think it will be cool to see Westbrook receive cheers from the Thunder fan base who certainly loved and appreciated his efforts on the court and in the community.

Rockets on ESPN

The Rockets are also playing 11 games on ESPN, which are against Brooklyn, Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers (twice), Philadelphia, Portland (twice), Minnesota, Dallas, Milwaukee, and San Antonio. I’m personally most excited about the Golden State game on Christmas Day at their home.

For one, I’m looking forward to the alternate Christmas jerseys and I also will really be curious to see the backcourt of newly acquired D’Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry against Harden and Westbrook. This will for sure be a fun match-up! By this point, the Rockets will have already played the Warriors in Houston (on November 6th) and I believe the Rockets will have already beaten them once. I’d be curious to see how the Warriors play in the second game against Houston.

Rockets on ABC

The Rockets play 5 games on ABC, which are against Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans, Boston and Portland. The game I’m most looking forward to out of this slate is against Portland on January 29th.

This will be a tough road test for Houston and also would be their 5th game in 8 days, which will include a back-to-back in that stretch. I’d be curious to see how they will physically respond to the challenge. I also am quite sure Portland will be eager to prove they’ve been forgotten about in the Western Conference.

Rockets on NBA TV

The Rockets play 12 games on NBA TV, which are against New Orleans (twice), Portland, Toronto (twice), Denver (twice), Utah (twice), Sacramento, Dallas, and San Antonio. The match-up I’m most eager to see by far is against Utah on January 27th.

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Overall what I’m most excited about is the fact that the Rockets are getting the national love. I’m already ready for the season to start!