Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks
Head-to-Head this season: 1-1
Last 10 games: 7-3, Rockets
The Rockets have had a lot of success against the Dallas Mavericks in recent years. Houston went 8-0 against Dallas from 2016-18, split the series with them last year, and are split with them so far this season.
Luka Doncic has emerged as a legitimate superstar this season, tallying 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game through 54 games, which helped him nab his first of likely many NBA All-Star selections.
The Rockets, of course, have quite a few All-Star appearances between their players themselves, and it’s hard to imagine the media’s repeated comparisons of Doncic and Harden won’t at least be in James’ mind at least a little bit.
Doncic wasn’t available to play in their last loss to the Rockets, so Mike D’Antoni won’t be able to rely on the gameplan from his squad’s January win over Dallas for showdown number three.
Houston Rockets vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Head-to-Head this season: 1-0, Bucks
Last 10 games: 5-5
While the main storyline should be two title contenders meeting, it’s hard to ignore the tension that James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo have established between themselves. It was already enough that Giannis took home the MVP award that many have said Harden should’ve been awarded.
To further escalate things, however, Giannis then took some shots at Harden’s defense during this season’s All-Star weekend, which Harden eventually responded to. While they have since seemed to cool down the beef between them, the competitiveness of both stars and teams should make for a very entertaining second matchup.
The Houston Rockets have drastically changed since their opening night 117-111 loss to the Bucks in October. The biggest key to a Houston victory here will be a full-team effort to bully Giannis out of the paint and limit the effectiveness of 7-foot tall Brook Lopez on the glass.