It’s James Harden’s first game back in Houston after the trade. Will we see a big-time performance? Can the slumping Rockets wake up and dish some revenge on their old star?
Catch the game tomorrow, Wednesday, at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Houston Rockets (11-22, 5-9 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: John Wall
- SG: Victor Oladipo
- SF: Danuel House
- PF: PJ Tucker
- C: Justin Patton
After an encouraging six-game winning streak following the James Harden trade, the Rockets have fallen off a cliff. They are now losers of 12 straight games with an appalling 17.7-point differential.
Much of the growing pains can be credited to Christian Wood. He’s been the Rockets’ inside presence and the current skid coincidentally began after he injured his ankle. He’s expected to be out until after the All-Star break.
For now, the Rockets are back to its small-ball attack. The backcourt of former All-Stars John Wall (20.4 PPG, 6.1 APG) and Victor Oladipo (19 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.7 SPG) are leading the way, and right behind them are swingmen Eric Gordon (17.8 PPG), Danuel House, David Nwaba, and rookie JaSean Tate. Gordon is the team’s third-leading scorer but note that he’s day-to-day with an ailing knee.
We may see an inspired Rockets who want to show Harden up, but note that they are scoring just 100.6 points on 40.5% shooting (27.3% from three) in their last 12 outings.
ROAD TEAM: Brooklyn Nets (23-13, 10-7 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: James Harden
- SG: Kyrie Irving
- SF: Joe Harris
- PF: Bruce Brown Jr.
- C: DeAndre Jordan
The Nets returned to the win column on Tuesday with their 124-113 overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs. They are now 9-1 in their last 10 games, which is scarier when you know Kevin Durant has only played once in that stretch.
The blistering surge is to be expected, of course, since Brooklyn still has two other superstars in James Harden (25.3 PPG and 11.3 APG since being trade) and Kyrie Irving (27.4 PPG). Both have adjusted quite well to their roles, with the former playing the point guard and the latter being the lead scorer. Durant is out at least until after the All-Star break, but the Nets should be more than fine.
Joe Harris (14.7 PPG) and rising forward Bruce Brown, meanwhile, are leading the supporting cast. Look out for Brown, in particular, as he is putting up 18.2 points on 70.4% shooting over his last five games.
The Nets are averaging a league-best 120.1 PPG.
The Rockets will come out with a lot of energy, but the Nets’ firepower will be too much. Harden and Irving will once again display great offense.
The Nets should be able to win this, 120-108, with Harden dropping a good stat line.