Game 73 Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Miami Heat

It seems like forever since the Rockets had a game. That's because it has been forever. David West is out for New Orleans, but thanks to a lucky shot by Emeka Okafor and Phoenix deciding to pack it up, the Rockets are 3.5 games away from New Orleans. They're still reachable (that schedule is brutal) but the Rockets have to turn their attention back to Memphis now.

Memphis beat Boston (who hasn't these days?) and lost a close one to Derrick Rose and company. They sit 1.5 games ahead of the Rockets, and their next five games are all winnable. Tonight, they play the Tim Duncan-less Spurs, then get Golden State, New Orleans, Minnesota, and the Clippers. Only the Hornets game is away, and you can see that the Grizzlies could win all five of those games.

That doesn't bode well for the Rockets, who have Miami today. Daryl Morey tweeted that a win or loss moves our chances of the playoffs 25% either way. I would like for it to go up, but playing Miami in South Beach will be tough. And no, I'm not going to make some stupid "The Rockets are taking their talents to South Beach" comment. Oh wait, I just did. Crap.

Game starts at 5:00 CST. Early start times usually don't bode well for the good guys.

Other notable games tonight concerning playoff position:

San Antonio at Memphis, New Orleans at LA Lakers, Dallas at Phoenix

Matchups...

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Mike Bibby:

One of them is playing like a superhero. The other is Kyle Lowry.

I kid.

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Dwayne Wade: 

The last time we played them, D-Wade hit more crazy shots in the fourth quarter than I've ever seen. Double teams, triple teams, hard fouls, no fouls, one hand tied behind his back, kicking the ball into the hoop, using the power of his awesomeness to score...you name it, he did it.

As well as Lowry has been playing, K-Mart has been quietly playing his butt off and scoring in bunches larger than mounds to cocaine at Charlie Sheen's house.

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Advantage: Heat

SF: Chase Budinger vs. LeBron James:

Looks like Chase is back, which is good, because he's the only person on the team that can stop LeBron James.

And I need confirmation from you guys (and gals) about something. I don't love LeBron James or anything like that, but he doesn't seem to ever be running. I would describe his "running" more like gliding, especially without the ball. It's like the air just moves past him and he's always about to take off. Look at this, and pay careful attention to him after he crosses midcourt, but before he gets the ball.

 

LeBron James Slams It Home (Heat Vs Spurs) (via SuperTonyD20)

Love him or hate him, he's still an obsession.

Advantage: Heat

PF: Luis Scola vs. Chris Bosh:

Chris Bosh has kind of turned it around. I now a lot of people would still rather have Luis than Bosh, but it's looking more and more like the Rockets missed out on a chance to get younger. It wasn't their fault. I'm just saying.

And we better get that iPad back from Chris Bosh. Seriously.

Advantage: Even

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Erick Dampier:

Between me and my friends, Dampier is a running joke. Most of my friends are Mavs fans and hated him when he was there. He's terrible, and can't catch. Luckily, all they need him to do is grab a few boards and put back a few misses per game. If only that translated to medicine.

"Yeah, we just need you to look at a patient today. You don't have to do anything, or talk to them, or treat them, or even really look at them. Just pretend to care. Oh, and here's a million dollars. You're irreplaceable."

I want that job.

Chuck will have his hands full. Between LeBron and Wade driving, and Bosh getting past Scola at will, the Chuckwagon will have to be in four places at once. Luckily, this new teleportation technology came just in the nick of time. Man, isn't 3011 wonderful?

Advantage: Rockets

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Bench:

Heat: Mike Miller, James Jones, Eddie House, Joel Anthony, Jamaal Magloire, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Juwan Howard.

Rockets: Goran Dragic, Courtney LeeBrad MillerPatrick PattersonJordan Hill

Advantage: Rockets. I love Juwan Howard, but if one more person tells me that "Fab Five" is the best ESPN documentary, I am going to kill them. You have been warned.

Injuries:

Heat: Udonis Haslem out,

Rockets: Yao out,  Terrence Williams probably out

Prediction: Close game, but the Rockets lose  115-106

Rockets vs Heat coverage

Peninsula is Mightier

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