Houston Rockets vs Miami Heat game preview - December 15

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Miami Heat
Houston Rockets v Miami Heat / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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Houston Rockets vs Miami Heat: X-Factor

This is going to sound crazy, but the X-factor for the Rockets is Daishen Nix. I can say this with the utmost confidence, Nix is not going to win this game for the Rockets, but he certainly can lose it for them. 

The Heat struggle to generate effective halfcourt offense and struggle even more without Jimmy Butler. When their bench unit is on the court, they need all the help they can get to generate offense, and all too often, Daishen Nix seems like he is playing for the other team. 

Nix is averaging 4.6 turnovers per 100 possessions and has a horrendous 27.8% turnover rate. If he paired those turnovers with elite scoring or playmaking, it would be tolerable, but he doesn’t. Nix is trending dangerously close to the G-League, and the Rockets need him to be better if he wants to stay in the NBA. 

There’s a real chance this game is decided because Nix gets enveloped by the Heat’s defense and coughs up an absurd number of turnovers. Daishen Nix is the Rockets’ X-factor because he is the player I’m most confident can lose this game for the Rockets, but who has next to no chance of winning it for them. 

If Nix can make it through his minutes without a turnover, that would be huge for the Rockets’ chances. He doesn’t need to score. He doesn’t need to set anyone up. All he needs to do is just make sure the Heat don’t get extra transition possessions. If he does that, then he’ll be the Rockets’ player of the game because he has set the bar so astronomically low for himself. 

Next. An Eric Gordon trade to the Los Angeles Clippers. dark