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Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans game preview

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

He won’t be playing tonight, but the main story tonight will be Anthony Davis.

Davis, you may have heard if you don’t live under a rock, asked for a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday and is trying to play elsewhere for a better chance at an NBA championship. That story has already been beaten to death over the past 24 hours, so I’m just going to talk about the game.

In addition to AD’s absence (he’ll continue to play for the Pelicans, but he is currently out with a finger injury), the Pels will be missing Nikola Mirotic and E’Twaun Moore. Rockets murderer Julius Randle is questionable with an ankle injury.

The Pelicans still have Jrue Holiday and an assortment of guards/wings to throw at Harden. The only true center for New Orleans is Jahlil Okafor, and that’s the position that has given Houston the most trouble since Clint Capela’s injury.

It’s imperative that Houston keep beating teams that aren’t fighting for the playoffs. With AD’s announcement, that places New Orleans firmly in that group. As of this writing, the current Western Conference teams in the top eight spots have not lost a game since last Wednesday. Houston plays three such teams before the All-Star break (and likely Capela’s return). If Houston can go 5-3 during those next eight games, they will probably feel pretty good about themselves. Anything less and they could give some lesser teams real hope.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on TNT, but unfortunately it’s Players Only so make sure your mute button works first