Houston Rockets vs Orlando Magic game preview - December 21

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Orlando Magic
Houston Rockets v Orlando Magic / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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Houston Rockets vs Orlando Magic: X-Factor

When the Rockets beat the Magic on November 7, they generated a season-high 31 assists, and Kevin Porter Jr. led the charge with 11. Nearly 20 games later, that remains both of their season highs. For the Rockets to upend the Magic’s winning ways, they need Kevin Porter Jr. to regain his playmaking moxie. 

When Porter is at his best, he is able to balance scoring and playmaking as he leads the Rockets’ offense. Unfortunately, he can struggle to strike that balance, which leads to turnovers and some truly inexplicable shots. For Porter, a great and disastrous play is always right around the corner. 

The Rockets need Porter to be a steady playmaking hand against the Magic. He is the starter most equipped to make an offensive impact even when their shot isn’t falling. The Magic have been riding lucky opponent shooting over the past seven games, and the best recipe to change their fortunes is through excellent passing. Porter is the man in charge of the offense, and him setting the tone with ball movement will go a long way in determining the game.

Even as the Rockets have gone 6-7, Porter has struggled over his past 13 games. He has averaged 16.8 points per game and 5.3 assists, but it has come with 41% shooting from the field, 25.7% shooting from 3-point range, and 3.9 turnovers. Porter is capable of much more, and the Rockets will need him to be at his best to beat the red-hot Orlando Magic. A bounce back in game 14 could see the Rockets move to .500 over the stretch. Kevin Porter Jr. is the Rockets' X-factor.

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