Houston has had its fair share of head-scratching losses this season, but easily two of the most embarrassing losses have come against the New Orleans Pelicans.
On the opening night of the season, the Pelicans walked into Toyota Center and dominated the Rockets on national television. A few months later, with half of their team injured, the Pels came back to Houston and stunned the Rockets behind a career game from Jahlil Okafor. Really, the Rockets should offer refunds to anyone who bought tickets to either of the Pelicans games at Toyota Center since the Rockets didn’t show up for either contest. Houston did win the first matchup in New Orleans.
The Pelicans have been dealing with the Anthony Davis drama, but AD has been playing about 20 minutes a night in games in which he is available. With him sitting out against Orlando on Wednesday, he’ll likely be ready to go tonight. Oh yeah, the Pels haven’t played since Wednesday. Because of course. The main beneficiary of AD’s situation has been Julius Randle, who is averaging 25 points per game in March, including a 45-point effort against the Blazers. After taking about 12 shots per game through January, the Rockets killer is taking closer to 20 these days.
New Orleans still has some injuries hampering them. Jrue Holiday has been out for a few weeks with an abdominal strain. In Holiday’s absence, Elfrid Payton had five straight triple-doubles.
E’Twaan Moore has also been out for a few weeks with a quad injury.
Interestingly, after seeing Davis on Friday, the Rockets get to play his brother, Dairis Bertans. The rookie has played five games so far and is looking to gain a foothold in the NBA.
For Houston, the key will be getting James Harden some help. Houston’s mercurial guard has dropped 57 and 61 points over the last two games and could probably use a break from the whole “Do everything because everyone else is playing like garbage” thing that has been plaguing Houston lately.
Tip-off is at 6pm CT