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Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans game preview

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets head into New Orleans tonight for the first half of a road back-to-back against the Pelicans and Denver Nuggets.

After tomorrow’s contest, Houston will only have five road games remaining to go along with seven home games.

Houston will be without Nene tonight, per Feigen. On the one hand, this is an odd game to rest Nene since the Pelicans feature one of the centers that Houston brought Nene in to deal with. On the other hand, the Nuggets also feature a big that Nene will need to corral, so getting him rest is still beneficial.

That means that we’re likely to see much more of Montrezl Harrell than in previous games. The young big out of Louisville gave the Rockets some great minutes against the Jazz and has shown a competitive spirit every time he gets minutes. With him likely matching up with DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, or Alexis Ajinca, he’ll have his hands full. As has been the case when the Rockets are down a big, the remaining centers will need to stay out of foul trouble. That’s especially true against a team with Boogie and the Brow.

The Pelicans are 4-7 since the Boogie trade, though he missed one of those games with a suspension due to technical foul accumulation. Still, it goes without saying that he’s capable of winning games himself just like Davis is. They will probably need an offseason to figure out a system to maximize their talents together and bring in some shooting, but they’re still dangerous in the moment.

With the toughest back-to-back in the NBA tomorrow, we’ll see how serious the Rockets are about winning the game tonight.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT.