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Houston Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers game preview

The Rockets attempt to win in Philadelphia for the first time since 2009 tonight.

In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days.
In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Houston always loses in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia was terrible last year.

Philadelphia still beat Houston in Philadelphia last year.

House. Of. Horrors.

Maybe that's why Will's mom sent him to Bel-Air.

In 2007, the Rockets won in Philly by 50. Yes, 50. Since then, they are 1-5 in 76ers-land, and each of those games has come against a Philly team that was decidedly worse than the Rockets. So this game is no gimme.

As a kid, I always felt like the Rockets would be 82-0 if games ended after 3 quarters. If that were actually the case, the Philadelphia 76ers might be a pretty good team this year. In their opening game, the Sixers trailed by 5 heading to the fourth quarter and lost by 12 to Indiana. In their second game, they led the Bucks heading to the fourth quarter. The Sixers scored 7 points in the final frame and lost by 12. They trailed by 4 against Miami and lost by 18.

So the Sixers have had their fourth quarter woes.

On a totally separate note, I have a pet peeve that I'd like to air grievances about. It's about the replay process when it comes to possession.

In the NFL, I hear the phrase "indisputable evidence" every single time there is a replay. For the non-American football fans, the idea is that to overturn a call there must be indisputable evidence from video to change it. If the refs called on the field that Team A got the ball or scored or whatever and they review the play, there has to be definitive video evidence to prove that they didn't get the ball or that they didn't score if they are to change the call. If it's 50-50, that's not "indisputable evidence" and the play stands.

Now, that jargon is making its way to the NBA, and it bothers me.

In football, the refs have to make quick calls and the play clock gives refs a finite amount of time to make a call between plays. In the NBA, no such play clock exists, and almost every replay comes from a dead ball call. Flagrants and technicals can be reviewed, but that's not what I'm talking about here.

So usually what happens is that late in close games the ball goes out of bounds, both teams point in their respective directions, and the refs get together to make a call. Now at this point we all know that the play is going to be reviewed right? Every player for the team that loses the call is going to twirl their fingers to signal a review no matter what. Then the refs come up with a call and then review it, looking for indisputable evidence to overturn it.

Well, I think that's bullshit.

Why make a call in the first place? Why not go to the monitor and make a call with a clean slate? Instead of looking for evidence to overturn, they should be looking for evidence to make a correct call. And if there's not enough evidence to make a call, call a jump ball at midcourt. It's not Team A's fault that the refs called the ball for Team B and then the video didn't reveal who actually touched the ball last. But Team A is paying for the fact that in that moment the refs picked Team B. Like I said, it's bullshit.

We always say that the most important thing is getting the calls right and that we'll sacrifice time if the right team gets the ball. And I totally agree. So why are we allowing the phrase "indisputable evidence" to get in the way of that?

And now, for some quickie matchups!

Tip off is at 6pm CST


Point Guard: Patrick Beverley vs. Tony Wroten

Michael Carter-Williams is out with a right shoulder injury.

Patrick Beverley might be out with a hamstring injury.

I put Beverley here but if he doesn't go expect Isaiah Canaan again.

Advantage: Depends on injuries

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Hollis Thompson

James Harden has been playing some pretty decent defense. No one will notice because that goes against the narrative. But watch him a little tonight. He's not playing shut down defense or anything close (and never will), but he's playing like a serviceable defender. And that's all Houston needs from him.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Trevor Ariza vs. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

Mbah a Moute isn't a SF, but he started last game.

Advantage: Rockets

Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Nerlens Noel

Noel is the part of the key for the Sixers' future plans. Their plan seems fairly simple, and that's to imitate the OKC plan of drafting your own superteam. The Sixers have Noel, MCW, and Joel Embiid. If they play their cards right, they can land another stud draft pick next offseason or trade one of those three guys for two first round picks or something. Then they hope that they all turn into stars and are willing to stay.

Do you think it will work?

Noel is more athletic than Jones from what I've seen, so he gets the advantage since that's the Terrence Jones X-factor.

Advantage: Sixers

Center: Dwight Howard vs. Henry Sims

Howard might be out, and Black left the game as well. So who knows what happens here?

Advantage: Rockets


Rockets: Propeller Plane, Donatas Motiejunas, Tarik BlackKostas Papanikolaou, Isaiah Canaan

76ers: Malcolm Thomas, Brandon Davies, Chris Johnson, Alexey Shved, K.J. McDaniels

Advantage: Depends on injuries

Prediction: Rockets end the curse, win 108-98

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