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Houston Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers game preview

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The Rockets look to build momentum off a convincing win at Madison Square Garden. They take on the 76ers tonight in Houston.

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Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

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Philadelphia 76ers
@ Houston Rockets

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012, 7:00 PM CST
Toyota Center

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Thanks to BD for taking the game preview on Monday. I'm convinced that we won because he wrote it. Hope he's willing to write about 50 more of those suckers if he turns out to be the good luck charm.

Full disclosure: I'm writing this before the Sixers take on the Mavs tonight in Dallas so if anything changes after that I'll try to update it here.

When you really break it down, the Rockets and Sixers aren't that different. Both teams have some young exciting players Both have versatile talent at multiple spots and can get big games from a number of players. Neither team needs one guy to do all the work, even though the Rockets are closer to that status than the Sixers. The Sixers are missing Andrew Bynum, too. He's the inside presence that could turn them into an elite team.

Stats-wise, they're really different. The Rockets are third in points per game, but 29th in points allowed. The Sixers are 26th in points per game, and 9th in points allowed.

Tonight will be a game of contrasting styles played by a couple of young energetic teams. I'm looking forward to it.

Tip off is at 7pm CST.


Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Jrue Holiday

Holiday has a sprained left foot. If he plays against the Mavs, expect him to play here. Otherwise, Nick Young will start in his place and jack up a lot of shots. He put in 30 against the Lakers the other night and can score in bunches. His shot selection isn't great, but when he's on, he's dangerous.

If Holiday plays, it's the Sixers. If not, Lin gets the advantage.

Advantage: Sixers/Rockets

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Jason Richardson

Richardson is going to take threes, and he's going to make threes. The Rockets have to be aware of him close out fast.

The interesting dynamic here is how the Sixers will defend the Rockets backcourt. Holiday and Turner will do okay against Harden, but J-Rich and Nick Young will get killed. Plus, if the Rockets set the tone then it's up to Chandler Parsons to step up and have a big night.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Evan Turner

I liked Turner at Ohio State, and he's averaging 19 points on 47% shooting over his last 10 games.

This matchup with Parsons is the one I'm most looking forward to in this game. Much like the Parsons-Kawhi Leonard matchups, this one features a couple of young guys who can do a little bit of everything at a position that many teams lack. Count me in for 48 minutes of this one.

Advantage: Even

Power Forward: Marcus Morris vs. Thaddeus Young

Xiane once said, "Thaddeus Young...frightens AK more than bird flu."

Here's what you need to know about how true that statement is: as I read it, I was nodding fervently. Young just has something against the Rockets, and would make the "Plays way better against the Rockets than anyone else" team. He'd be joined by Jason Terry, David West, Ron Artest, and apparently Chris Copeland.

Jason Terry would score all the points, though, because Jason Terry is a jerk-face.

Advantage: Sixers

Center: Omer Asik vs. Kwame Brown

Playing against Kwame Brown should be the perfect opportunity for Asik to get out of this weird slump he's been in. Our fantastic editor Patrick mentioned it in his recap from the Knicks game, but anyone with eyes can notice that Asik hasn't been himself for the last couple of weeks. Some of the competition has been better, but Asik has had some great games against good teams. There's no reason he shouldn't be hitting a double-double or getting close every night.

I'll also mention that Brown is not terrible. He's just developed a reputation for being a bad player since he was drafted first overall and didn't turn into a star. But really, he's a serviceable big man, especially coming off the bench. He normally would be doing that, but he and Spencer Hawes are playing a bit more than expected because of the Bynum injury.

Advantage: Rockets

Bench/Rotation Players

Rockets: Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfino, Terrence Jones, Greg Smith

Sixers: Lavoy Allen, Dorell Wright, Spencer Hawes, Damien Wilkins, Maalik Wayns, Royal Ivey

Advantage: Rockets

Prediction: Rockets win 100-92.