Houston is coming off two games in which the team fell behind early and spent most of their energy getting back into the game. Against Indiana, the Rockets were even able to take the lead before failing offensively down the stretch.
A lot of Houston’s woes can easily be attributed to injuries. The Rockets still have not had their full complement of players in any single game this season, and tonight probably won’t be the first time unless all three of Christian Wood (knee), Danuel House Jr. (back), and Ben McLemore (COVID protocols) are ready to play.
Of course, that excuse is pretty weak when you compare Houston’s situation to the Orlando Magic’s. The Magic lost Markelle Fultz, one of the best stories in the NBA, to an ACL tear on Wednesday. He’s done for the season. Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL in the Bubble last year and will probably miss the season. Al-Farouq Aminu is still out after knee surgery last year. Evan Fournier has missed three games with back spasms but seems poised to return tonight. James Ennis III played his first game of the season on Wednesday on a minutes restriction. Finally, Michael Carter-Williams is day-to-day with a bone bruise and a sprained ligament.
Even with the adversity, Orlando is 6-2 early in the season and appear determined to move up a tier in the Eastern Conference. The injuries have put a strain on Steve Clifford and staff, but the team has handled the early season stretch pretty well so far. Houston is hoping to throw a wrench in the proceedings.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest