Houston Rockets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game preview

Should he be running the offense in crunch time? - Scott Halleran

The Rockets take on the Cavaliers tonight in Houston in a classic "trap game."

Houston Rockets Tickets

The Rockets are coming off a huge win.

The Cavaliers are coming off a disappointing loss.

People throw out "trap game" a lot around here (you know who you are), but that's tough to determine before you have hindsight. If the Rockets lose to a bad team, it was a trap game. If they win, it wasn't.

But this is a real trap game. The Cavs are missing Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, and Dion Waiters. The Cavs blew a 27-point loss at home. The Rockets have to win this game, and the Cavs are content to lose it.

That's not necessarily a trap game, but when you're playing a team that you should beat, at home, coming off a big win when your opponent is coming off a devastating loss, that's a trap game.

Poll question: which team would you rather have miss the playoffs: the Lakers or Jazz? Right now, it looks like one is definitely making the playoffs, so which would you rather see as the 9 seed?

Tip-off at 7pm CST.

PG: Jeremy Lin vs. Shaun Livingston

Former Rockets face off tonight in Houston. Granted, Lin is a current Rocket, and playing very well as of late. His play in the second half ensured a Rockets win over the Jazz.

I wonder if Lin's performance will bring up whether he or Harden should run the show in crunch time. Like always, I think you run through your regular offense and let whoever has played the best dictate the flow late.

Advantage: Houston

SG: James Harden vs. Wayne Ellington

Ellington is the Cavs' best three point shooter. He's a guy who can get hot and do a little bit of everything. He's dangerous, but I think the Rockets will keep him in relative check.

Advantage: Houston

SF: Chandler Parsons vs. Alonzo Gee

Gee is not a great player, but he's not a hindrance.

For the Rockets, Parsons has really come into his own this season. His offense has improved incredibly, but he hasn't been the defensive presence that he was last season. That hasn't hurt the Rockets since the team is centered around their offensive game.

It would be nice to see a shutdown performance from Parsons soon. Against Gee isn't the time, but maybe against Paul George in the next game.

Look at me looking ahead. IT'S A TRAP GAME!

Advantage: Houston

PF: Donatas Motiejunas vs. Tristan Thompson

The Cavs' offense will run through Thompson without the aforementioned trio. Obviously the Cavs have other players who can score or contribute, but Thompson is almost averaging a triple double and is the easiest candidate to be the guy who beats the Rockets. It's important to box him out and keep him out of the paint.

Advantage: Cleveland

C: Omer Asik vs. Tyler Zeller

The Rockets passed up Zeller for Royce White. Ouch.

Advantage: Houston

Bench:

The Cavs will send out Marreese Speights, Luke Walton, Omri Casspi, C.J. Miles, and Daniel Gibson

The Rockets have Patrick Beverley, Carlos Delfino, Thomas Robinson, and Greg Smith

Advantage: Houston

Prediction: Rockets start sluggish, calm down and win by 11.

Fear the Sword

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