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Houston Rockets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game preview

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Houston Rockets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

I’m tempted to keep this extra short because you really should be reading Xiane’s piece about how Mike D’Antoni has changed the NBA. It’s predictably great, and as always, Xiane says everything I want to say but does so in a much better way than I could.

There is a game tonight, so let’s get to it.

Once again, Houston is coming off a tough loss in a game they should have won. After the San Antonio game, they went to Toronto and picked up an impressive win over the Raptors. Tonight, they get a chance to put the Nemanja Bjelica game-winner behind them when they head to Ohio to take on the 5-18 Cleveland Cavaliers.

I distinctly remember last year’s contest in Cleveland. Houston was in the midst of a slide and were resting Chris Paul. The game was a disaster because the Rockets allowed the 3-14 Cavs to have hope all night long by giving up 312 offensive rebounds (all stats approximate) and Collin Sexton went 7-10 from the midrange. I had been convinced that Sexton wasn’t going to pan out as an NBA star when I saw him early in the season, but that game absolutely made me reconsider that viewpoint. The kid was poised and fearless. Down the stretch, he outdueled James Harden and got his team a much-deserved victory.

Well, now the Cavs are 5-18. They are reportedly looking to deal Kevin Love (please do not fill the comments with hypothetical trade scenarios that involve Houston getting Love; it’s not gonna happen) and would be willing to go full-on rebuild mode. Some of the Cavs are reportedly not happy with new head coach John Beilein (subscription to The Athletic required), but Tristan Thompson would like them to kindly pull up.

Russell Westbrook has had a couple of good games in a row now. Time will tell if we get good or bad Russ moving forward. I hope he gives us the aggressive Russ that somehow outshoots his normal three-point percentage.

The Rockets should win this game, but they have to remove all hope early or else they will play their fifth-straight close game and in a close game, anything can happen.

Tip-off is at 6pm CT