After resting James Harden against the San Antonio Spurs, the Rockets have basically conceded the third seed in the Western Conference to the Denver Nuggets. Today, on the second game of a back-to-back, the Rockets will rest Russell Westbrook, but will be buoyed by the return of Harden and Eric Gordon.
Gordon was apparently a standout in the practices preceding the preseason bubble games, but in the games themselves he shot poorly from deep. If Houston wants to be successful when the games start to matter, they need EG to be their third best player on offense.
Indiana comes into today’s game off a 114-92 loss to the Miami Heat in the much-anticipated T.J. Warren-Jimmy Butler reunion. Warren has been the talk of the bubble, as he’s dropped monster scoring games of 53, 39, 34, and 32 points in six games in the bubble. He trails the scoring lead to Harden, but Warren can go absolutely nuclear and the Rockets must be prepared to deal with the fallout.
For Houston, these games are about playing at a high level entering the playoffs. The main goal has to be to stay healthy, with the secondary goal being Gordon’s assimilation into the offense. The result of the contest today is mostly irrelevant.
Tip-off is at 3pm CT on NBA TV and AT&T SportsNet Southwest