#2: Terrence Ross vs James Harden
James Harden has been fantastic to start the season and he needs to win his matchup with the Magic’s Terrence Ross. Ross has been awesome coming off the bench averaging 20.7 points per game but with Markelle Fultz out for the season expect him to see more court time and a match up with Harden.
Terrence Ross has been excellent to start the season on offense and is stingy on defense as well. The Rockets need Harden to be locked in on both ends to prevent Ross from having a serious impact.
If Christian Wood is out then the Magic will have the advantage in the frontcourt as Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vuceciv have the ability to overwhelm DeMarcus Cousins and P.J. Tucker. The best way for the Rockets to counter is to have their superstar player absolutely dominate his matchup.
Harden needs to go for at least 30 points and hold Ross under 20 for the Rockets to come out victorious against a surprisingly good Magic team. These two likely won’t be matched up one on one consistently but they are both their team’s primary perimeter scorer.
When the two are guarding each other Harden needs to be aggressive attacking the basket and force Ross into situations where fouling is his only option. On defense, Harden needs to be aggressive on closeouts and remember that when Ross gets the ball he’s looking to shoot no matter the situation.
The advantage here goes to the Rockets but Harden needs to exert his influence early and often to give the Rockets some breathing room. Ross is a good player, Harden is a great player, and the Rockets need their MVP to show everyone why.
Next: Matchup #1