With tonight's game taking place in the nation's capital, I figure this would be the perfect time to discuss the upcoming presidential election and take a deep dive into some politics in general.
The Rockets are looking to get back to over .500 on the season and back to .500 on this road trip specifically. We've talked about how this 5-game road trip for Houston was set up for a 2-3 record and now that's what Houston is staring at. Obviously, you take one game at a time but with Wednesday's game being against the Spurs, the Rockets know that this the winnable game left on the road trip.
Like Houston, the Wizards had high hopes last season but disappointed. This year, the Wizards are 1-4, but are 1-1 at home with a win over the Hawks and 10-point loss against the Raptors. They brought in Scott Brooks in the offseason and time will tell if the former Rockets point guard will help the Wizards improve or at least get the bitter taste of last season out of their mouths.
Tip off is at 6pm CT
Point Guard: James Harden vs. John Wall
Wall missed the Wizards' most recent game in Orlando because he's not playing on back-to-backs while recovering from offseason surgery on both knees.
Harden gets the advantage because he's the better player, but if you told me that Wall would destroy Houston I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest. The dude is an All-Star for a reason.
Shooting Guard: Eric Gordon vs. Bradley Beal
Beal is known as a great shooter but has started off the season slowly. He's averaging 17 points per game but is taking 15 shots per contest to get there. He's shooting 37% overall from the field and under 30% from distance. He'll get back to his averages, but hopefully not tonight.
Gordon's been the better player this season, but never underestimate a shooter in front of his home crowd. Plus, EG is coming off his worst game as a Rockets (3-11 from the field, 0-4 from deep). For Houston to have any chance this season, he's going to have to produce.
Small Forward: Trevor Ariza vs. Otto Porter Jr.
Porter is averaging 12/7 on 60% shooting so far in the young season. His career has been interesting: after being drafted third overall by Washington, he hardly played his rookie year and didn't contribute much off the bench in his second season. Part of that was Paul Pierce's presence, but just watching OPJ you can see he's a much more confident player now than he was even two years ago. It's always a real gamble when you take a hometown kid (Porter went to Georgetown), but it looks like this decision will work out for the Wizards.
Ariza spent time in Washington and rejuvenated his career a bit after Houston traded him away. He missed the game in Washington last season after bruising his back the night before in Brooklyn. Yeah, I remember stuff.
Power Forward: Ryan Anderson vs. Markieff Morris
Both of these guys can stretch the floor all the way to the 3-point line. Morris takes more long twos and Ryno is more of a 3-point threat. Morris is a better defender but I think Anderson's ability to fully stretch the floor for Harden gives the edge here.
This is really the matchup of the game. If either of these guys get hot, look out.
Center: Clint Capela vs. Marcin Gortat
Nene was most recently in Washington, so this is also a bit of a homecoming for him.
Houston will have to learn how to deal with bigger centers, as that is clearly a huge weakness for them so far. Most teams don't have post-up threats, but Atlanta obviously threw Dwight at Houston and other teams will be able to throw bigger 7-footers at the Rockets. Tonight is yet another test on that front. Gortat can spread the floor but has aspects of a traditional center as well.
Rockets: Corey Brewer, Sam Dekker, K.J. McDaniels, Tyler Ennis, Nene, Montrezl Harrell
Wizards: Andrew Nicholson, Jason Smith, Kelly Oubre Jr., Trey Burke, Marcus Thornton, Tomas Satoransky
Prediction: Rockets need this one, win 112-108.
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