First off, thanks to OJ ATM for the Mavs preview but I'm pretty sure he's never allowed to do another one since the Mavs always win when he writes one. I wrote the one last year when we won, I believe. He also didn't follow my stipulation of insulting Dirk, which I believe led directly to Dirk's monster night. Finally, he goes to A&M. Three strikes and you're out. It's shocking I haven't banned him yet. But seriously, thanks man.
We're never going to beat the Mavs in Dallas, are we? Like Philadelphia and Toronto, it's just one of those places where the Rockets don't win, even if you completely change the roster.
But have hope: one day Dirk will retire. And it will be glorious.
The Rockets finally get a break tonight as they have two days off coming into the game while the T-Wolves played the Nets last night in Minnesota. The Rockets have had equal or less rest in 10 of their 11 games so far, so it's about time the good guys started getting teams coming off a game the night before.
Let's talk about Minnesota. Every year there are a couple of early-season regular season darlings. The 76ers have faded since their fast start so Minny seems to be it. But they share a lot in common with another surprising team: the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers were the sexy team early last season and started fading around the midway point of the season. This was due to terrible depth. The Blazers had a terrible bench, which forced them to play the starters for ~40 minutes per night. That's not sustainable.
The Timberwolves don't look like they have a great bench, either. Sure, Derrick Williams and Dante Cunningham are athletic bigs and J.J. Barea has been a thorn in our side since his conception. But I don't see this Minny team as capable of keeping this up, even if I sincerely hope they do. I like this group and it's fun to see Rick Adelman coach a team with superstars that can pass.
Despite the bench issues, their starting lineup is stacked. One All-Star, one who's a fringe star, a dynamite young point guard, a top-10 center, and one of the best all-around wings in the league. Looks pretty good to me.
Tip off is at 7pm CST
Point Guard: Patrick Beverley vs. Ricky Rubio
Rubio is averaging 8/9/5 early in the season. He's shooting better from 3 but worse overall. However, he's taking fewer shots since he doesn't have to score so much for this team.
He's so much fun to watch. The game slows down when he's controlling the ball. You can the pass he's going to make and it's only in that moment that you realize you're screwed. Pete Maravich was the early comparison, but Jason Kidd may be a better one.
He's also getting superstar calls already. Or at least he did last year against the Rockets.
Lin and Bev will have to punish him on the other end by attacking the basket.
Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Kevin Martin
Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Corey Brewer
Parsons is the better player and he's been playing like it recently.
Brewer can but isn't particularly efficient at it. Those 2 steals per game make him scary if Harden tries to break him down. If he gets into foul trouble from guarding either Harden or Parsons, the Rockets could be in business.
Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Kevin Love
Sometimes, I'm writing a preview and I think, "Man, I've been super homer so far in this preview." That's happening right now.
I really like this Minny team and that starts with the former UCLA standout Love. And please stop trying to trade for him, Rockets fans. I want him too. But he isn't coming unless he demands a trade or the Rockets are willing to part with one of their own superstars. So, no.
Also, I think he'll go to LA or New York when his contract runs out. What say you, Rockets and T-Wolves fans?
Center: Dwight Howard vs. Nikola Pekovic
Pekovic has the size to stay with
puny Americans Howard but Dwight should have him on quickness. If he can get out and run in the open court and establish position early in the post, we could see him have another good night after really lighting it up against the Mavericks.
Rockets: Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik
Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham, Robbie Hummel, J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved
Prediction: Rockets make a run late to win 120-115.
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