The Rockets close out the first half (unofficially) of the season with 5 more games. On paper, each game is winnable and none of the games are on back-to-backs. In fact, after tonight the Rockets get three days off, then they get the Suns, who will be coming off a game at home against Chicago. Then the Rockets get two more days off.
That is to say, the crowded early-season schedule is starting to clear up for the Rockets, who have still played a home-heavy slate and will be punished right out of the All-Star break.
Houston has only 3 losses to the Eastern Conference, third only to Portland and OKC's two losses. To be fair, the Rockets haven't played the Heat yet and still have Indiana at home after the All-Star break.
The key really is winning the other games against the East teams. With how good the West is and six teams behind the Rockets fighting to get into/stay in the playoff spots, it's important for the Rockets to keep winning. That's been a recurring theme for the good guys: every time it seems that they are separating themselves from the rest of that pack, they drop a couple of games and fall into a race with teams they don't want to be near. I think the Rockets will make playoffs, but letting up just a little at any time could be a real killer for the Rockets and could be the difference between getting home court and/or a good matchup.
Cleveland is 16-30 overall and 5-18 on the road. They are 25th in scoring and 29th in assists. Their defense gives up the same number of points per game as the Rockets.
Basically, this should add up to a Rockets blowout win. However, my brothers are going to the game with free tickets and they are 0-2 at Rockets games when they get free tickets. so we all know who to blame if this goes south.
Oh, and DAVID STERN IS GONE!
Tip-off is at 7pm CST.