The Houston Rockets will play six games in the 2019-20 preseason, including two matchups against the back-to-back champions. Russell Westbrook will make his first appearance in a Rockets’ jersey on Sept. 30.
After releasing the regular season schedule on Monday, the NBA released the preseason schedule on Thursday. The Houston Rockets will play their first preseason game on Sept. 30 against the Shanghai Sharks at Toyota Center, a team Houston has beat by a combined 141 points over their last three preseason matchups. It’s safe to say that this game will be over by halftime.
Then, on Oct. 4, the Rockets will fly to Honolulu, Hawaii to take on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George‘s Los Angeles Clippers. This game will start at midnight CT, so the entirety of this game will actually be played on Oct. 3 in Hawaii as they are five hours behind Houston, Texas.
Next, the Rockets will fly to the other side of the globe for a pair of games against the defending champion Toronto Raptors in Tokyo, Japan on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10. The team will head back to Houston to take on the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 16 before closing out the preseason in South Beach to face the Heat on Oct. 18.
Houston’s opener against the Shanghai Sharks won’t be a real test for the team, but we will get to see Russell Westbrook in a Rockets’ jersey for the first time. It’ll be interesting to see how Westbrook and James Harden share ball handling duties and if they can pick up right where they left off. Expect to see a lot of highlights from both of these players in this game, as opportunities in transition should be plentiful.
The second game will be exciting as well, as we’ll get a glimpse of how the Rockets matchup with the LA Clippers. This has become a league of dynamic duos, and watching Westbrook and Harden take on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for the first time should be a treat. Not to mention, this could be a potential Western Conference Finals matchup next May.
The rest of the matchups aren’t super interesting, but the preseason for the Rockets will be about getting Westbrook on the same page as the rest of the group and seeing where he can flourish with the team in an actual NBA game.
Last season, Mike D’Antoni played Chris Paul at least 25 minutes for most of the preseason and James Harden played at least 30 minutes in every preseason game. That means we’ll get plenty of time to see both Westbrook and Harden on the court together in the not too distant future. I can’t wait.