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Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans game preview

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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets finish their Southwest Division slate tonight. So far, they are 9-6 against the toughest division in sports.

The Pelicans did open a can on the Rockets just a few days ago. It was a familiar story for the Rockets: James Harden was his incredible self, a couple of other Rockets were productive, but the majority of the Rockets left their games in the locker room. That trend has popped up throughout the season, but it has recently returned.

Part of the beauty of having so many shooters in the ability to play the players with the hot hand. Lou Williams having a bad night? Eric Gordon can close. Ryan Anderson has been on fire? Close with him at the 5 if necessary.

Lately, those decisions have been easy for Mike D’Antoni. Too easy, in fact.

I’m not bothered by Lou Williams’ struggles. He’ll figure it out and find his niche in this offense. I worry that EG and Ryno won’t sustain any sort of consistency by the time the playoffs start.

For tonight, the Rockets have had three whole days off. They would have killed for that in January, but right now it’s a nice break anyway. The Pels have had two days off, so rest won’t be a deciding factor tonight.

Speaking of the Pelicans, they have won three straight games and are just four games out of the playoffs. With their first round pick (top 3 protected) gone to Sacramento, they might as well keep pushing. Last stretch of the season. Can’t hold anything back now.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT.

(Psst: this would be Houston’s 50th win.)