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Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans game preview

Houston Rockets v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets get one piece back tonight but will be without two starters when they head to Louisiana to take on a Southwest Division foe in New Orleans. Eric Gordon makes his return after getting his knee cleaned out, but Clint Capela is still out with a heel injury and Russell Westbrook will miss the game as it’s the second night of a back-to-back. The Rockets have missed EG, who got off to a poor start to the season but actually had his best game of the season in his last game before the injury, ironically in New Orleans.

The New Orleans Pelicans won convincingly last night against the Indiana Pacers. The game was remarkable in that it included all three Holiday brothers (Jrue, Justin, and Aaron) playing in the same game. All five starters scored in double figures for the Pelicans, as did E’Twaun Moore and Josh Hart off the bench. New Orleans has size with Derrick Favors and Jaxson Hayes to punish Houston on the boards. Kenrich Williams also comes off the bench and rebounds well for a guard.

Houston’s biggest issues right now are that their shooters are missing wide open shots and so it’s emboldening defenses to double James Harden. Unless Houston’s shooters start hitting shots, expect to see tight games like the ones we have seen lately. The other problem for the Rockets is a lack of transition defense. We have seen plenty of teams lately push the pace on both made and missed shots. The Rockets have to make a point to get back on defense or risk giving up a ton of easy points. The Pelicans have plenty of players who would love to pick some cherries if given the opportunity.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on NBA TV