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Houston Rockets vs. Washington Wizards game preview

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The Rockets head to the nation's capital to take on the Washington Wizards.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Apologies for missing the Minnesota game preview. I'm not one for excuses so I'll just say that it won't happen again. You deserve better.

Since the All-Star Break, the Wizards have been the walking definition of "up-and-down." Here's what they've done in that time.

5-game losing streak.

Win-1-lose-1 for 4 games.

5-game winning streak.

4-game losing streak.

Beat Charlotte in double overtime.

In that game against the Hornets, the usual suspects did big things. John Wall had 32 points and Marcin Gortat grabbed 16 rebounds. But it was the Wizards bench that carried Washington enough to help them get across the finish line. Drew Gooden had 17 (!) rebounds and Ramon Sessions finished with 9p/7r/3a in only 19 minutes.

The Wizards sport Gortat and Nene in their frontcourt, a tandem that is sure to give Houston fits. Both guys can bang down low and both can stretch the floor and hit jumpers. As we've seen all year, stretch bigs have given Houston fits. It was something we thought might be better contained with the addition of Josh Smith but that hasn't been the case. You can point to Dwight Howard's absence, which has put players out of position. It will be something to look at moving forward since the teams that Houston could play in the first round (Clippers, Spurs, Mavs, Blazers) all have a stretch 4 that could burn the Rockets.

Speaking of Dwight, my guess is that he will play tonight and sit tomorrow in Toronto. Kevin McHale has said that he won't play in both games of this back-to-back, but with the bigs that Washington has it would make more sense to have Dwight tonight rather than against the (slightly) smaller Raptors squad. Plus, the Rockets could have prime Michael Jordan on their team and still couldn't win in Canada.

Expect a fun game today. John Wall can push the Wizards in transition and is second in assists this season. Bradley Beal can also run the floor and hit 3s. Paul Pierce will always be there for big shots, and the Wizards bench can produce some fun stuff too.

Tip-off is at 11:30am CST on ABC.

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