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Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans game preview

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After an odd 3-game road trip that took them on the road for two weeks, the Houston Rockets return to the confines of the Toyota Center to take on the New Orleans Pelicans.

The story with the Pelicans is obviously their mercurial twin towers, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The two are combining to average 51 points and 23 rebounds per night. Both have PERs in the top 20 in the NBA. There are very few players in the NBA that can beat you by themselves. The Pelicans have two of them.

However, that’s not all. The Pelicans also have a pass-first point guard in Rajon Rondo and a converted off-guard in Jrue Holiday that can also run the show. E’Twaun Moore gives them a shooting threat from deep (45%) on the wing.

New Orleans played a game last night against the Sixers, which they won 131-124. Rondo had 18 assists to just 3 turnovers. The Pels as a team shot 58% from the field and 63% from deep. No, that wasn’t a typo. Philly has a top 10 defense in efficiency, so that should let you know just how on the Pelicans were.

Tonight will be yet another test for the Rockets. A lot of times, the toughest game of a homestand is the first one. Teams are happy to be home after a road trip and can lose focus. With tonight being the first game of a 7-game homestand, the Rockets will need to stay focused throughout. It would be nice if fans showed up on time, but we’re done wishing for that.

The Pelicans are also one of the only teams that features two players that are known as defensive stalwarts in Rondo and Tony Allen. Both players aren’t the athletes they once were, but both will likely to be called up to stop Houston’s imposing backcourt tandem of Chris Paul and James Harden.

Thus, the Rockets need Eric Gordon to shoot his way out of this funk he’s in. I know the Rockets play much better when he is on the court even with the way he’s been shooting lately. Still, if he starts hitting shots, the Rockets go from “tough to beat” to “you better bring your A+ game to have a chance.”

Foul trouble will be huge in this game. Whichever team stays out of the penalty is going to have a huge edge tonight.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on NBA TV