The Houston Rockets meet the New Orleans Pelicans for the second time this season. The first matchup was a tight affair in which the Rockets held on for dear life late to win their first game of the season.
Houston is starting to show flashes of the team that Daryl Morey envisioned when they traded Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook. A big part of that is James Harden’s return to shooting form, but the rest is that the team is finding the right balance between Harden and Westbrook-run units.
The defense is still a work-in-progress, though. Even though the Rockets held the Bulls to 94 points (Houston’s first game holding an opponent under 100), Chicago got a ton of easy dunks and layups, mostly off turnovers and missed shots. Houston’s halfcourt defense did its job, but Chicago’s offense is not the one that Houston will wish to judge itself moving forward.
The Pelicans are still missing their much-hyped rookie Zion Williamson. In his absence, Brandon Ingram has shown that he is more than capable of picking up the scoring load for the team. Ingram is averaging 26 points per contest early in the season on a remarkably efficient 54% shooting overall and 47% from deep. In fact, Ingram has more games shooting 60% or better than he does shooting 50% or worse. It’s still early, but Ingram is proving to be a promising piece for New Orleans’s future after periods of inconsistency with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Rockets should win this game, especially with the upcoming a bit of a gauntlet looming over the next few weeks. Still, the Pels have given the Rockets trouble already this season so this should be a close contest.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT on NBA TV