The Houston Rockets are hitting the court for the fourth time on the Orlando campus on Friday to face the Dallas Mavericks, and the stakes will be high.
It took 144 days, but the Houston Rockets will finally be back to play some meaningful basketball for the first time since March 10th. In their first of eight seeding games before the NBA playoffs tip off, the Rockets will be the designated visiting team when they meet the Dallas Mavericks on Friday at 9 PM ET in Orlando.
For Houston, the stakes already start off at their highest, as they go into the game with just a 1.5 game lead over the Mavericks in the Western Conference. A loss would have them clinging to a half-game lead on the sixth seed. Falling to seventh before the playoffs would be deadly, as they’d likely have to face defending NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the LA Clippers in round one of the postseason.
The Mavericks have turned some heads in the West, led by the meteoric rise of their star, Luka Doncic. His game and the rate at which he produces has even led to some comparing him to James Harden (which we feel is a bit premature).
Nonetheless, Doncic and fellow international star Kristaps Porzingis have been a handful against the Rockets in the past. Last November, Doncic dropped 41 points and dished out 10 assists in a 137-123 victory at the Toyota Center.
With Doncic out for the rematch in January, Porzingis scored 35 points and pulled down 12 boards while James Harden scored 35 of his own to lead the Rockets to a 128-121 win.
With so much at stake in their first game back, all eyes will be on Russell Westbrook and James Harden to set the tone from the outset and show why they’re being picked by many to be a darkhorse option in the West. Here’s all you need to know about the Texas showdown.
How to watch the Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks
Location: The Arena (Wide World of Sports) – Orlando, FL
Date/Time: Friday, Jul. 31, 2020 @ 9 PM ET
National TV: ESPN
Local TV: ATTSN-SW, FSSW-DAL
Radio: KBME/KTRH/KEYH, ESPN 103.3 FM / 1270 AM (ESP)
Houston Rockets (via Rotoworld) – Eric Gordon (left ankle sprain)