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Rockets vs. Mavericks game thread: Welcome back

There are 29 games left in the NBA season. The Rockets start the stretch run tonight.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Did you guys miss real basketball as much as I did? Holy cow I had to watch too much college ball the last week. More than I care to admit.

Tonight, the Rockets return with a road game against the Dallas Mavericks. Pablo Prigioni and K.J. McDaniels are not playing tonight, which means all is basically the same for Kevin McHale's rotation. James Harden was the apple of the basketball world's eye over the All-Star Break, and he gets to continue his destruction of the league after a much-needed vacation.

The Headband of Brothers, runners of the most frenzied pace of a bench unit in the league, has also gotten a chance to rest and more practice time with one another.

While Dallas is a good team, the Rockets are a better one. The tinkering may not yet be done -- there's always buyout season -- but this group, plus Dwight Howard, figures to be the one we're riding to the playoffs. This next brutal stretch of games is the time to show what they're made of.