The Rockets moved to 3-1 in the preseason with a win over the Magic, but were missing several pieces due to injury, illness, or fatigue. While playing a back-to-back in the NBA isn't as bad as making a round trip to and from Asia, it was a rare case where the Rockets were able to experience a schedule quirk that they're likely to see during the season.
I have no word as to availability so far, but it does seem like Omer Asik is feeling better and could make his debut this week. It will be great to see the Howard-Asik dynamic both when they play together and when Asik runs with the second team or even the starters if Howard gets in foul trouble. For what it's worth, I agree with Xiane on not trying to trade Asik yet.
As for tonight, this is the Rockets' first chance to see the new-look Dallas Mavericks, who didn't make the big splash they wanted in free agency but did make a few ripples. The Mavs will be good enough to make the playoffs with their talent but getting out of the first round will prove to be a difficult trick. Mark Cuban has a few expiring contracts and some young assets. We've seen that strategy work before, and with Gerson Rosas at GM in Dallas they are bound to make plenty of sound decisions.
Tip off is at 7pm CST.
You can use this as a game thread should another one not pop up tonight.