Projected Starting Lineups
Orlando: D.J Augustin, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic
Houston: Austin Rivers, James Harden, Danuel House Jr., P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela
Ignoring James Harden for a second, this game will come down to the Clint Capela-Nikola Vucevic matchup. Despite similar levels of production (17.6 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 63 percent FG for Capela vs. 20.2 ppg, 12 rpg, 3.7 apg, 53 percent FG, 39 percent 3FG for Vucevic), the two couldn’t be more different. Capela is an airborne finisher of plays, catching lobs and dump offs, while Vucevic is a ground-bound creator with a polished post game and a smooth outside shot. Vucevic’s ability to space the floor will pull Capela away from the rim often, so it will require a team effort to win the rebounding battle.
Magic Player to Watch
For the first time this season, Rockets’ fans will get the chance to see potential trade target Terrence Ross. The seventh-year guard is capable defensively, shoots 39% from 3 on almost 6 attempts per game, and is in the final year of his deal. Should Orlando continue to fall in the standings, expect him to finish the season elsewhere.
What to Expect
Orlando enters losers of four of their last six, their playoff chances getting slimmer with each game. However, the team is acutely aware of this and is playing desperate as of late. Their last game, they beat the Celtics and the game before that they burst out the gates to a 20-point lead in Utah before collapsing, so with Chris Paul and Eric Gordon still out, this could easily be a trap game for the Rockets if they aren't ready.