Full disclosure: I am writing this game preview at 7pm local time on Wednesday night. The trade deadline is in 19 hours. Things can change, but if I’m talking about James Harden and you’re thinking, “AK, the Rockets traded Harden to the Monstars for Pound,” this explains why I am not mentioning it.
Actually, I like that the trade deadline occurs before anyone plays a game post-All-Star Break. This removes the dynamic of sitting players and having Twitter explode with “Oh MDA took out Bev at the 4 minute mark of the first quarter. IS HE BEING TRADED???” I really dislike attempting to extrapolate information on a coach’s decision, and now that’s eliminated.
By now, you’ll know that the Rockets have added Lou Williams. As always, I’d like to preach patience when it comes to new additions. He won’t gel immediately. He’s going to look lost. Give it time and things should be fine. Trust Morey.
The New Orleans Pelicans made a trade too. They traded Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, and Langston Galloway for DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi (picks were also involved).
It’s a tough break for Houston to face the Pelicans and what is sure to be a raucous crowd at the Smoothie King Center. On ESPN, Marc J Spears called this the biggest basketball game in New Orleans since Katrina (despite the great season New Orleans had two seasons ago. The Pelicans are now pushing for the 8 seed in the Western Conference, and the trio of Anthony Davis, Cousins, and Jrue Holiday has the potential to beat anyone. Like the Rockets with Williams, it will take time to integrate Cousins. Hopefully tonight won’t be his best game as a Pelican.
The Rockets and Pelicans meet two more times this season after tonight. There’s a lot of history between the two clubs with plenty of cross-ties. The Rockets signed Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson this offseason. Trevor Ariza played for New Orleans (then the Hornets) for a while. For the Pelicans, they feature Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones (on the trading block, per Chris Haynes). Omer Asik was a Rocket and the two sides had an acrimonious breakup. E’Twaun Moore was a Rocket for three days.
Gordon has stated more than once that the move to Houston has been the best move of his career and that he’s much happier in Houston than New Orleans. He’s even exacted a bit of revenge already, winning the Three Point Contest in New Orleans in front of a hostile crowd that booed him.
There’s little chance that D-Mo won’t be hunting for revenge. The Lithuanian is averaging 5 points and 4 rebounds per game over 16 minutes. He’s shooting 29% from deep and 46% overall. Expect him to take more than his average of four shots tonight.
When these teams last played in Houston, the Rockets set the single-game record for most three pointers made in a regular season game with 24. More recently, the Denver Nuggets tied that mark.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT.