Rockets forward Ryan Anderson left Monday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs with back tightness, and now those spasms will keep him out a bit longer. It was announced that the sharpshooter will miss tonight’s contest against the Utah Jazz as well, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen.
Feigen is also reporting that head coach Mike D’Antoni will move Eric Gordon into the starting lineup and send James Harden to match up with one of the Utah bigs. When Anderson missed time earlier this season, Sam Dekker drew the start and performed quite admirably, but with the youngster’s shot struggling some in recent days, the coach has decided to roll with Gordon’s deft touch from deep instead.
The Jazz are currently dealing with some injury issues of their own — Derrick Favors is out, while George Hill and Joe Johnson are questionable — so it’s yet to be determined what the Utah lineup will look like tonight and who will we be guarding who, but Harden will spend at least some of the time matching up with Trey Lyles and/or Boris Diaw.
While that match up isn’t ideal for the Rockets, what this move does it keeps as much shooting on the floor as possible for Houston, which would see a drop off if the cold Dekker or Montrezl Harrell started in Anderson’s place.
The Rockets have occasionally struggled without Anderson this year, as his ability to space the floor is one of the key factors to their success in scoring the basketball, so it’s understandable why D’Antoni wants to maintain a significant shooting threat in the lineup.
Anderson’s injury may have a ripple effect on the rotation, however, and we could see Harrell, who’s been glued to the bench for the last three straight games, get back on the court in relief of the front line.
As for Anderson’s balky back, D’Antoni said that he didn’t expect his stretch four to miss any significant extended time, but that he could also miss Friday’s game against the Bulls if he doesn’t improve.