The Houston Rockets play the Miami Heat on Wednesday, but the Heat will be shorthanded in the second matchup between the two teams.
When the Houston Rockets last faced off against the Miami Heat, the Rockets were swept off the floor, losing 129-100. Former Houstonian Jimmy Butler played a large part in the Rockets’ loss, as he had 18 points to go along with game-highs of nine assists and four steals. Butler also had a defensive rating of 83 points per 100 possessions, which was the best among all starters.
The Rockets and the Heat are facing off again on the eve of Thanksgiving, although this time the Heat will be without Butler’s services, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. Per Winderman, Butler had been battling an illness and had been questionable all along for the Rockets’ rematch against Miami.
Hopefully, the Rockets will be able to capitalize on tonight’s game with Butler out, but they’ll obviously have to play much better than they did in their first showdown. The Rockets were down 14-46 at the conclusion of the first quarter in their first meeting, shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from downtown, while also adding five turnovers.
Needless to say, the Rockets will need to play much better than that and should play much better than that with the game being in Houston this time around. Their shooting woes obviously have less to do with Butler’s absence and is more about the Rockets simply making their shots.
Butler has been in the news recently for saying Houston Rockets superstar James Harden is the most unstoppable player in the NBA. Butler was speaking during an interview for The Players Tribune when he offered high praise for the Rockets’ guard.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) November 26, 2019
If you recall, the Rockets were strongly pursuing Butler prior to the start of the 2019-20 season before he ultimately decided to head to South Beach and join forces with the Miami Heat. The Heat have actually been much better this season, as they’re 12-4 and currently second in the Eastern Conference, in no small part to Butler.
Here’s to hoping the Rockets are able to take advantage of his absence and have a much better showing on Wednesday.