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Houston Rockets vs. Brooklyn Nets game preview

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The Rockets look to continue their winning ways when they welcome the Brooklyn Nets to Houston.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Remember the time when the Rockets were 0-3?

Remember the time when they were the worst team in history after 3 games?

Remember the time when Harden was done?

Remember the time when McHale was going to get fired?

Remember the time when BOBBY BOUCHER SHOWED UP AT HALFTIME AND THE MUD DOGS WON THE BOURBON BOWL?

Well, things are looking up. But the Rockets need to wait until later to hold hands and kiss. They've got a ball game to win.

Tip off is at 7pm CST.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Ty Lawson vs. Jarrett Jack

Ty Lawson did not lead the Clippers-Rockets game in assists.

James Harden did not lead the Clippers-Rockets game in assists.

Blake Griffin and Paul Pierce (!) did, with 5.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Rockets need Lawson to get more than 4 assists in games where the opposing All-NBA point guard is sitting.

Advantage: Rockets

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Joe Johnson

Every time the Rockets go against Johnson, I am reminded that there were plenty of Rockets fans that wanted Johnson back when he became a free agent in 2010. Tracy McGrady was gone and the Rockets needed a star to pair with Yao Ming (whom they figured would still be a around).

Johnson understandably took the max deal with Atlanta and Houston struck out during the first LeBron free agency. Instead, Houston spent the next few years mired in ninth place in the West while Atlanta hung around the middle of the playoff pack in the East.

Still, things have a way of working themselves out when you have the smartest GM in the room.

James Harden is under contract for two more years after this one.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Trevor Ariza vs. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

The rookie out of Arizona isn't averaging much so far, but none of the Nets really are.

In fact, the Nets are 29th in offensive efficiency and 27th in defensive efficiency early in the season. They're also 29th in true shooting percentage. Wait, the Nets are 0-7?

Advantage: Rockets

Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Thaddeus Young

Thaddeus Young kills the Rockets. Kills them.

Young is averaging 13/8 and probably gets to beat the Jones Corollary due to his success against Houston and the fact that Jones will probably be rusty. In fact, I'm not even sure whether or not McHale is going to start T-Jones with how well Thornton has spaced the floor for the Rockets.

Advantage: Nets

Center: Dwight Howard vs. Brook Lopez

Lopez has back spasms and a sore right foot but is listed as probable for tonight.

Normally considered a poor rebounder, the twin already has 3 double-doubles this season and leads the Nets with a 20 point per game average.

On the other side, Dwight hasn't had to play since Saturday so hopefully the three days of rest allow him to be a monster down low again for Houston. Those 20/20 games are awesome when they happen, but shouldn't be expected every night.

Advantage: Rockets

Bench

Rockets: Patrick Beverley, Marcus Thornton, Corey Brewer, Clint Capela, Montrezl Harrell

Nets: Thomas Robinson, Andrea Bargnani, Shane Larkin, Bojan Bogdanovic, Wayne Ellington

Advantage: Rockets

Prediction: ...

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