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Game 49 Preview: Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs

I think it's odd that we play both the Spurs and Mavs in their buildings twice before we get either one of them at home. Oh, NBA schedule makers. You are so crazy!

Does anyone else get the feeling like we've pissed off the Sports Gods? Maybe it's just me, but I would say even the Texas fans in attendance have got to be disappointed with this year. No bowl game, though the basketball team is impressing. I mean, the Aggies are doing well, the Mavs and Spurs are rolling along. The Texans blew a good thing. The Astros are terrible. The Dynamo didn't make the playoffs. True story: I was watching the Spurs-Jazz game the other night, and the Spurs were up big. I was excited and starting rooting for the Spurs with my roommate who's from the area. One play later, Manu gets hurt and the Jazz start to make a big run. My roommate made me change the channel because now he thinks I'm cursed, and we flipped around for a while. When I came back to ESPN, the Spurs were again up big and Manu had come back and was doing just fine. So whoever I root for doesn't like it.

And of course, our beloved Rockets are just killing me. On the inside. And the outside, too, I guess.

It's one thing to be a bad team and get blown out night after night. If we were Cavs fans, we could blame LeBron and just hope for our young players to develop and that the draft brings us riches. Same goes for the Wizards. They can't win a road game, but at least they'll be pretty good in a couple of years. Minny even has Kevin Love.

But the Rockets aren't bad, and I never thought I'd say this, but that's the problem. I don't care about draft position. That's not what I mean. I just wish the Rockets weren't one of those teams that constantly starts trying when it's too late. Or can't play with emotion when the times are rough. Blame Adelman. Blame Morey. Blame whoever, but it sucks. If you had told me we would lose to the Mavs by five in Dallas, I would have thought, "Not bad." But after seeing how the game went, it just reinforces my desire to crush things with a baseball bat.

So today, I have a message to the Sports Gods:

I'm sorry. I apologize if I did something wrong. I know BD34 is sorry for all the stuff he's done. We've even got a hardcore female fan who frequents the game threads more often than I do, so it can't be a sexist thing. Or is it? I know TheChuckwagonisrolling is manly, and his favorite player isn't a superstar, but he means well. He really does. So what if Bruce Wayne declares his love for Aaron Brooks all the time. I know he likes vigilante justice, but the real Sports Gods would know his heart is in the right place. Dave, Lee, and Tom are great guys. I don't think they would have offended you. And Xiane, OAL, and Mike are cool, too. We just want our team to win. I'm not asking for much. I ask for two things: stop this suffering, and give us a Rockets championship in the next ten years. I'm sorry for keeping you, and I know you have to go make sure the Cubs and Jazz never win a championship. Thanks for that, by the way.

Onto the matchups.


PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Tony Parker:

Tony cheated on Eva. The gods don't approve of that.

But Aaron Brooks clearly hasn't curried favor from them either. So...

Advantage: Even?

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Manu Ginobili:

One is universally hated by all announcers. The other is Manu Ginobili.

Manu Ginobili broke one of the those unwritten basketball rules. What hurts is that the Spurs have been so successful this season and haven't had the injury bug hit them. I hate to sound like a whiny baby, but that's not fair!

Actually, sounding like a whiny baby is fun. And if there are Sports Gods, retribution will be demanded. Tonight.

Advantage: Even

SF: Shane Battier vs. Richard Jefferson

I've seen the Spurs a couple of times this year, and the biggest difference between this year's team and last is Tim Duncan's resurgence. A close second is the emergence of Richard Jefferson.

RJ is playing the way the Spurs wanted him to last season. With a year of the Spurs' system under his belt, he's starting to come into his own. Plus, with the financial security of a new contract, he won't push the issue to the detriment of the team.

I'm not sure who Shane will guard. He'll have a difficult assignment either way. I look for Courtney Lee to get serious minutes so he can match up with whoever Shane doesn't guard. However, I have no clue what goes through Adelman's mind, so he might not play either of them and we could get the Chase Show.

Advantage: Spurs

PF: Luis Scola vs. Tim Duncan:

The greatest power forward in NBA history is having a revival kind of year so far. It's not in the stats, so don't look at them. He doesn't have to take on such a load on offense, and it shows. The movement of Manu to the starting lineup and the emergence of RJ have made him better by lessening his work load.

Just watch him. He's finally healthy again, and he can sense his window is closing. He also knows that they have the team to win the West this year. Sure, their bench depth is suspect. Once you get past George Hill and possible Tiago Splitter, there isn't much there. Sure, Gary Neal has been good. And we know what Antonio McDyess can do. But name me a coach better at getting the most out his bit pieces than Gregg Popovich.

And maybe I'm the only one who sees the Tim Duncan thing. If that's the case, just humor me.

Advantage: Spurs

C: Chuck Hayes vs. DeJuan Blair:

Blair and Duncan are interchangeable at the 4 and 5.

Blair has gotten off to a rough start this season. There was a little bit of hype surrounding him before the season started. He lost some weight in the offseason, and looked really good in the preseason. However, he started the year averaging 4/6, while he averaged 8/6 last season. Now, he's back to 8/7, and he'll own us on the offensive glass.

Chuck played a heck of a game against Dallas, didn't he?

Advantage: Even



Spurs: George Hill, Gary Neal, Antonio McDyess, Tiago Splitter

Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Patrick Patterson

Advantage: Probably the Spurs


Spurs: Matt Bonner out

Rockets: Brad Miller out

Prediction: Rockets lose by 10. It won't be that close.

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