The Houston Rockets kick off their season against the Atlanta Hawks on the road on Wednesday night. In 2021-22, these teams split their season series at a game a piece. Still, it’s fair to say that the Rockets will be underdogs heading into this contest.
With that said, if the Hawks struggle, it may be due to their newly assembled backcourt. Adding Dejounte Murray alongside Trae Young gives the Hawks one of the more purely talented backcourts in the NBA, but the two haven't played so much as a regular season game together.
By contrast, the Rockets’ starting backcourt of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green have a bond so close that it appears brotherly. With Porter Jr. having just been rewarded with a uniquely structured contract extension, it will be interesting to see if he comes out of the gate eager to prove that he’s going to earn that non-guaranteed money.
Otherwise, Rockets fans will keep a close eye on Alperen Sengun. Recently, there’s been speculation that he could be moved to the second unit in favor of the more traditional rim-running Bruno Fernando. The Hawks will be a true test for Sengun. If he’s starting, he’ll be facing off with former Rocket Clint Capela. On the other hand, if he’s with the reserves, he’ll be matched up with Onyeka Onkongwu. Few teams in the NBA have as strong of a tandem of defensive big men.
All told, this will be a good test for the young Rockets. The Hawks are a quality team with playoff aspirations, but they’re not necessarily among the league’s elite teams either. If the Rockets can keep this game competitive, it may be time for their fans to start looking at upcoming draft prospects who aren’t named Wembanyana.
How to follow the game
Date: Wednesday, October 19th
Time: 6:30 PM CDT
Location: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
Watch it live: AT&T SportsNet Southwest and NBA League Pass
Live stream: SlingTV, fuboTV
Listen: SportsTalk 790 AM, NewsTalk 740 KTRH, SUNNY 99.1 FM
Current betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook
Line: Rockets +9 -110
Over/under totals: 232.0 -110
Money line: Rockets +330, Hawks -410
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.