Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Hornets game preview

Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

After a devastating loss to the Miami Heat, the Rockets look to square off against the 3-2 Hornets and rookie Anthony Davis.

The NBA screws us again. The Hornets are coming off of four days of rest and the Rockets just have the one after a grueling game against the Miami Heat. It was a heck of a game, and it's nice to know we can hang with the big boys. But that's the issue with young fun teams: they lose lots of close games. Learning to win is just as important as winning for a group like this.

There were flashes of brilliance against Miami. The bench played well, Terrence Jones joined Club Trillion (31 seconds, which rounds up plus no stats and even a +/- of 0 for good measure). It was a game that should boost confidence throughout the team, seeing as how the Rockets were thoroughly outplayed in the first quarter and were in not for a phantom call on Marcus Morris and an airballed three by Lin, we might be remembering that game very fondly.

Also, that LeBron guy is kind of good, huh? Jordan would have scored 80 though. So LeBron sucks.

As it is, you have to move forward and get the next game. The Hornets are an up-and-coming team too. This should be a lot of fun tonight.

Remember, 78-4 is still on the table.

And big thanks to Patrick for taking the Miami preview. He almost won that game for us.

Tip off is at 7pm CST.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Greivis Vasquez

General Greivis (sorry had to) is never going to win a shooting contest, but that's not his thing. He played behind Mike Conley in Memphis (didn't everybody?) and now runs the show in New Orleans, though he splits time with Brian Roberts.

I remember Vasquez at Maryland. He was a bulldog and was always talking. I've haven't seen a ton of that in the NBA so I'm looking forward to seeing him tonight to see where his development has gone.

Advantage: Rockets

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Austin Rivers

I like Rivers as much as I liked Jeremy Lamb, which is to say, a lot. He can create and if his shot is falling everyone on defense is in trouble.

On the other side, I expect Harden to give the rookie a warm welcome to the NBA. And disrespect his father, too.

Carter: That's why I don't have no partner, that's one thing I learned from my daddy.
Lee: Your father was a policeman?
Carter: Fifteen years LAPD.
Lee: My daddy also a policeman.
Carter: Your daddy was a cop?
Lee: Not a cop, an officer, a legend all over Hong Kong.
Carter: My daddy a legend too all over America. My daddy once arrested fifteen people in one night by himself.
Lee: My daddy arrested 25 by himself.
Carter: ...My daddy once saved five crackheads from a burnin' building, by himself.
Lee: My daddy once caught a bullet with his bare hand.
Carter: My daddy'll kick your daddy's ass all the way from here to China, Japan, wherever the hell you from and all up that Great Wall too.
Lee: Hey, don't talk about my father.
Carter: Don't talk about my daddy.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Al-Farouq Aminu

In the Hornets' three wins, Aminu is shooting 68%. In their losses, he's shooting 41%.

That sounds like one of those fancy keys to the game right there.

Advantage: Rockets

Power Forward: Patrick Patterson vs. Anthony Davis

The Kentucky battle gets underway here tonight. Davis will be in our division for a long time to come, so tonight's our first view of a player who can be a thorn in our sides for years to come. I don't think he'll be Tim Duncan, but he's going to be an All-Star type player for a long time.

Patterson needs to take this personally. He has more experience in this league, and he's bigger (stronger, really) than Davis and needs to try to abuse him in the post. If that happens he can make life tough for the rookie. Also, I'd like to see him hit a few shots to spread the floor and keep Davis from cherry picking for blocks.

Advantage: Hornets

Center: Omer Asik vs. Robin Lopez/Ryan Anderson

Lopez starts, but he, Anderson, and Davis will be a three-man big rotation where each will probably play 25+ minutes at least. Lopez is your typical banger. He's going to rebound and play gritty basketball. He's an above average defender. Anderson is almost the opposite. He's going to take and make a lot of shots. He's also going to get his rebounds. Patterson and Morris will have to know where he is at all times, since he has an incredibly quick release and can make us pay at any time.

Asik had himself a game against Miami. That's great news for the Rockets, as Asik's lack of offense was worrisome even though not much was expected from him. He should still be scoring off of putbacks and getting easy dunks off of poor defensive rotation. He's anchoring the defense and rebounding exactly as you would want him to. If he goes down, God help this team.

Advantage: Rockets

Bench

Rockets: Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfino, Marcus Morris, Greg Smith, Cole Aldrich

Hornets: Darius Miller, Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith, Brian Roberts, Roger Mason Jr.

Advantage: Even

Prediction: Rockets win 101-96

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