Game 15 Preview: Houston Rockets at Charlotte Bobcats

Sorry I missed the last game. I know you guys were devastated. I was studying for a big test and had no time to write a preview. Alas, sometimes life intervenes in my Rockets fandom.

I only caught the end of the Golden State game, but what really struck me in the highlights was Courtney Lee's defense against Monta Ellis. For years, small and quick combo guards have killed the Rockets. Monta Ellis and Jason Terry are just two of those. They are just too quick for Shane. That's why it looks like he's "lost a step." People forget that he never had that step to begin with. You can't lose something you never had.

But Lee is the perfect size and speed to disrupt those guys. Can he guard Carmelo or LeBron as well as Shane? No, but with Shane we don't need that from him.

The Bobcats just dropped a home-and-home to the Knicks by a total of 7 points.

And I hope everyone is having a happy holiday.

Matchups ahead.

Star-divide

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. D.J. Augustin:  

I'm a Tech guy, so I'm supposed to hate all Longhorns. Well, here's a secret: I really like Augustin. He's smart, and he's got range. He's averaging 13/7/4 in his third year, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 5. That's pretty good. He's also developing that knack of knowing when he facilitate and when to look for his own. On the road, he's scoring more, whereas at home he's dishing the rock more often. This is what veteran point guards should do.

OK, Kyle, you're out of my doghouse. Don't do anything stupid, and you may not ever have to go back.

Advantage: Even

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Stephen Jackson:

As opposed to the quicker shorter guards that give the Rockets trouble, "Captain Jack" (one of the worse nicknames ever) is long and tall. That makes life even tougher for the Rockets. Jax is actually a bit of a Rockets killer, as he usually plays us pretty well. Look out tonight.

K-Mart (yeah, we're going back to that) has a better nickname and showed up a little in the fourth quarter for once. Awesome. And if he keeps going to the line, he'll have some sick stats for my fantasy team.

Advantage: Even

SF: Shane Battier vs. Gerald Wallace: 

Gerald Wallace is pretty good. He's pretty versatile and can rack up the points, rebounds, assists, and blocks. He averaged four minutes more per game last season when the Bobcats made the playoffs, but this season has had his minutes reduced by Larry Brown in order to keep him ready for a stretch/playoff run. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they're 5-10 so they may miss the playoffs entirely.

Small forward has been the Rockets'  weakness this season. Shane hasn't been great on defense and Chase can't hit his threes. Luckily, John P had a kid yesterday and he's going to raise him to play small forward for the Rockets.

Shane will probably have to guard both Jackson and Wallace tonight, so

Advantage: Bobcats

PF: Luis Scola vs. Boris Diaw:

Diaw showed up when his former team, the Suns, came to town to the tune of 26 points. He's been pretty consistent this season, averaging 53% shooting.

Luis Scola is in danger of losing the starting power forward spot to Chuck Hayes after Hayes's first quarter performance Wednesday. OK, that's not true, but it was fun to write.

Advantage: Rockets

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Nazr Mohammed:

The new LeBron James will take his talents to Charlotte to face Nazr Mohammed.

It should be even.

Advantage: Even

---

Bench:

Bobcats: Shaun Livingston, Matt Carroll, Tyrus Thomas, Derrick Brown, DeSagana Diop, Kwame Brown

Rockets: You know who...

Advantage: Rockets

Injuries:

Bobcats:  Gerald Henderson out

Rockets: You know...

Prediction: Let down game a possibility here, but I think the Rockets win by 5

Rockets vs Bobcats coverage

Rufus on Fire

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