The Rockets play the second game of a back-to-back tonight in South Beach. The Heat are 3-0 and looking to spoil the Rockets' undefeated record just like they spoiled the Rockets' offseason by signing Chris Bosh to a humongous deal.
While the Rockets won in Philadelphia for the first time since 2009, Houston hasn't won in Miami since 2008. Granted, part of the Philly curse was that Philly was usually bad and Miami has always had a superstar or 3.
I think former contenders like the Heat have a few options when trying to figure out life past their title window.
Do you tear it down and rebuild? The Boston Celtics are trying that right now.
Or do you try to extend your window by trading away your youth and bringing in veterans to help? The Lakers tried that with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash and it didn't work. The Heat are trying a similar approach by doubling down on Wade and Bosh and bringing in Deng and McRoberts and giving Shabazz Napier big minutes. Will the Heat's plan work because they're in the East and our group of TDS writers could make a run at the playoffs in the East?
Yesterday we talked a little about Philadelphia's route to becoming a contender. Philly is clearly doing something we've seen done before but never to this extreme.
And that sets up our poll question.
Tip off is at 6:30pm CST
Point Guard: Patrick Beverley vs. Norris Cole
Last season, Beverley made Cole and Chalmers look silly. The Rockets really need him to play tonight but if he's hurt it only makes sense to rest him. A lot has been made of the Rockets' easy early season schedule, but a win against Philly yesterday is just as valuable as beating the Cavaliers later in the season. So even though this is a big game and we as Rockets fans would like to win, it's more important in the long run that Beverley is okay. He's more important in May and June than he is in November.
Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Dwyane Wade
Wade went 11-17 for 26 points and 6 assists against Houston in the preseason. Granted, some of that came late in the game against Houston's third string, but Wade was giving it his all throughout the game and made some great shots in the first half. And yes, Harden was guarding him. And no, Harden did not play poor defense against him.
In fact, I can remember Wade hitting a couple of turnaround jumpers against Harden where I thought, "Wow, that's vintage Dwyane Wade." I think he takes these games against Harden personally. I hope he takes it personally against Klay Thompson too since everyone wants to give him the "Best 2-guard" title.
Small Forward: Trevor Ariza vs. Luol Deng
Although Deng has played 8 billion minutes, he's still scoring double digits and averaging 32 minutes per game through 3 games.
I hope his legacy doesn't turn into what Danny Ferry said about him.
Trevor Ariza has been a revelation this season and while everyone rushes to compare him to Chach Douche (myself included), his defense that doesn't show up on the stat sheet is what makes him such a great and better fit with this team than Parsons.
Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Shawne Williams
Terrence Jones is more athletic than Williams, so as we've decided that gives him the advantage.
Center: Dwight Howard vs. Chris Bosh
Bosh is averaging 26/11 in the first 3 games of the season and totally earning that aforementioned humongous deal. In the preseason game he absolutely killed the Rockets and made approximately 112% of his shots. He actually shot 58% but I think my point stands. He'll be a difficult cover for Houston and if Dwight Howard gets into foul trouble again (safe bet) then D-Mo will be in real trouble.
Seriously, if Dwight Howard gets into foul trouble every single night the Rockets are not going to win games against good teams.
Rockets: Propeller Plane, Donatas Motiejunas, Tarik Black, Kostas Papanikolaou, Isaiah Canaan
Heat: Josh McRoberts, James Ennis, Justin Hamilton, Mario Chalmers, Shabazz Napier
Prediction: Rockets lose first game of the season 102-92.
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