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Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs game preview

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The Rockets take on the Spurs on TNT tonight. The Rockets swept San Antonio last season, but they're not the champs for nothing.

Parker "skies" for the rebound.
Parker "skies" for the rebound.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Wait, the Rockets can play teams on a back-to-back? I had heard legends of these games, like when my dad would tell me about the Rockets in the 1980s with a twinkle in his eyes. I never thought I would live to see the legend come to life. A real life game where another team is on a back-to-back and Houston isn't! It's like Christmas in November!

In all seriousness, it's a nice break for the Rockets to get a home game after starting with 4-of-5 on the road. Winning on the road is tough no matter the competition. But the pundits love shitting on your favorite team (no matter who it is) so everyone has been dumping on Houston.

I'll take 5-0 all day, and 6-0 is there for the taking. But the Rockets have a stern test against the defending champions who should be fully healthy outside of Patty Mills. Houston might still be without Terrence Jones and Tarik Black.

In college football, I've noticed that the best time to play a team is when they are coming off a close win at home. Those teams generally feel like they accomplished something and spend so much time focusing on how they scraped by that they don't always get the full amount of preparation for the next game.

Well, the Spurs won last night by 2 after letting the Hawks come back from a double-digit deficit. We all know these Spurs are great and that they won't fall into the trap that college teams fall into, but maybe they won't be at 100%. Yeah, I doubt it too.

I also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to come up with a theme song for the Spurs. And then it hit me.

I think it works pretty well. Can you think of a better one?

As always, Tony must dominate fisher. Because fuck fisher

Tip off is at 7pm CST on TNT.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Patrick Beverley vs. Tony Parker

Parker always kills the Rockets. Well, Parker kills a lot of teams, but he does seem to play well against Houston. Like he relishes the matchup against a top center and a defense-first point guard.

Beverley's job is the same as it always is: defend well one-on-one and hit the open threes that he's bound to get.

AND BECAUSE IT NEVER GETS OLD!

Advantage: Spurs

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Danny Green

I realize that I'm incredibly biased. I realize that Klay Thompson and Marc Gasol are having great starts for undefeated teams. I realize that he'll never win the award because of the media backlash against him and Houston.

But James Harden is the MVP so far, and he's doing it at a level that is sustainable. In fact, he's bound to shoot better as the season progresses. Obviously no one gets crowned after 5 games because that would be stupid. But it's been a long time since someone in Houston was at the front of an NBA MVP race.

You can bet that Danny Chronic will be coming for him tonight.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Trevor Ariza vs. Kawhi Leonard

I always considered Parsons and Leonard about even. I loved how both fanbases thought I was crazy for not giving it to their guy. Truth be told, Parsons ended up usually having the advantage over Leonard, but Kawhi also dealt with injuries last year that kept him out or at less than 100%. And right now, Leonard is just returning from pink eye.

I think now that his extension talks are over, he'll be able to play free knowing that he'll get a max contract after this season unless he gets seriously injured. It might only be a 3-year deal that San Antonio matches, but he'll get his max contract.

It's just a shame there isn't a Spurs video better than the Premier Love video with Tony Parker rapping and OH MY GOD YES IT EXISTS AND IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL HIDE MY EYES THEY DON'T DESERVE TO VIEW SUCH PERFECTION!

Advantage: Even

Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Tim Duncan

The Ageless Wonder vs. Jones who might be injured. Jones usually plays well against the Spurs due to the Jones Corollary. That's what I'm going to call it from now on. If Jones can't go, the Spurs will have a HUGE advantage here. Diaw (or me if you remember that he's my NBA doppelganger) is too good for D-Mo or K-Pap.

Advantage: Spurs

Center: Dwight Howard vs. Tiago Splitter

Splitter is just coming back from injury, and he only got 10 minutes tonight. Pop might either have done that to ease Splitter back before playing Howard, or he's really going to just give him spot minutes and move Duncan to the 5 and let Diaw play at the 4.

In a lot of ways Rockets fans should thank the Spurs. After all, it was their sweep of the Lakers in the playoffs two years ago that must have weighed on Howard's decision to bolt from the City of Angels. And Howard hasn't lost to San Antonio since. Although I do think that changes tonight.

Advantage: Rockets

Bench

Rockets: Propeller Plane, Donatas Motiejunas, Tarik BlackKostas PapanikolaouIsaiah Canaan

Spurs: Austin Daye, Aron Baynes, Boris Diaw, Cory Joseph, Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli

Advantage: Spurs

Prediction: Rockets lose first game of the season 108-102.

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