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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets game preview

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I listed the Philadelphia 76ers first on the title. There was a whole reason behind it. I was going to talk about superstition and how every team I root for lost this weekend. I was going to do a whole thing about how the 76ers were actually my favorite team in order to try and give the Rockets some good juju or at least reset my bad juju.

Then Game 5 of the World Series happened.

If you aren’t a baseball fan or just decided not to watch, the Astros won one of the greatest games I’ve ever watched. In a game where a team led by at least 3 runs four different times, the game went to extra innings. And in the 10th inning, the Houston Astros ended a game that lasted 5 hours and 17 minutes. The game was so long that Fox stopped showing commercials because they didn’t have any left to show.

So I’m keeping the title, because while I’m not superstitious, I am a little stitious.

I will spare you the 76ers love, though. I legitimately like that squad and think they’re going to be dangerous moving forward, especially if they can land a big fish or two this summer. And that looks really likely.

Philly will be without Markelle Fultz, whose shoulder issues have taken a turn into the bizarre. No one is quite sure what’s going on anymore, but the guess is that he’s not fully healthy and the Sixers don’t want to deal with questions about his play until they are 100% sure he isn’t being affected by an injury. The Sixers will still have talismans (talismen?) Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, along with Rockets-killer J.J. Redick, though Redick missed the team’s last game with a back injury.

Houston needs to get more out of its health department. Houston was missing four rotation players against the Grizzlies, but sure let’s keep going with the “Grizz own the Rockets” narrative. Take away four rotation players from any team and they will struggle. Houston’s in a good place to keep pushing through it, but losing two guards kills the Rockets since it’s the weakest position in terms of depth. Bobby Brown gave them solid minutes in Charlotte, but was an absolute dud in Memphis. If he’s hitting his shots and taking guys off the bounce like he can in his playground style, he’s great. However, most teams aren’t going to let him continue to play that way.

Bottom line: Houston is a possible contender with James Harden, Chris Paul, and Eric Gordon. With just Harden and Gordon, they’re good enough to win 50+ games. With just Harden, they’ll have a hard time beating any team considered a solid playoff squad. Please get healthy, EG and CP3.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT