After a disappointing second half against an Eastern Conference contender, Houston takes on a team trying to get back to the playoffs behind their new youth movement. The Pelicans traded Anthony Davis after a year of turmoil and landed Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. Obviously, the big move was winning the lottery and getting Zion Williamson, but the former Duke star is out for a while with a knee injury. Injuries always suck, especially when they happen to players as young and explosive as Williamson. The Pelicans seem determined to take it slow with his return, and that’s the right move.
New Orleans also brought in Derrick Favors and JJ Redick.
Last season, the Pelicans swept the Rockets in both games in Houston. One of those included an opening night blowout and the other included a game in which half of New Orleans’ team was injured. With the Pels playing last night against the Mavericks, Houston should be able to jump on New Orleans early and try to take away hope early.
As for the first game, I think that the Rockets are unlikely to get too many more games with such poor shooting from their highest volume shot-takers. Expect James Harden and Eric Gordon to get back on track tonight against a defense that won’t be as good as what Houston faced against Milwaukee.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT