The Atlanta Hawks are an excellent team. So are the Houston Rockets. But only one of those two excellent teams will be missing their heart and soul because of a, frankly, questionable league decision.
Weirdly enough, I'm more fascinated by tonight's game because Harden won't be playing. Corey Brewer is almost certainly getting the start, which makes sense. The starters will be him, Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas.
The bench will be Josh Smith, Jason Terry, Pablo Prigioni and... WILL IT BE K.J. MCDANIELS TIME?!?! Or will Big Papa get his first extended minutes since the All-Star break?
The Hawks are a team of precision, passing and consistency. The Rockets, especially the lineups without Harden in them, thrive on creating absurd amounts of two-way chaos, play their freaking butts off, consequences be damned. They will make things interesting.
The Hawks will probably win. If they do, James Harden's MVP case will only be strengthened. If the Rockets win, it will probably be the most batshit insane fun win of the season, because there's no other way a Brewer-Smoove-T-Jones-Beverley-led team can win. Are you excited yet?
The game was selected as the "Fan Night" contest, so you can find it on NBA TV if you're not in the Houston area.