The Houston Rockets are preparing for preseason game number two on Friday. After a dominant performance this past Sunday vs. the San Antonio Spurs, the Rockets will have a new starting lineup vs. the Toronto Raptors tomorrow night.
The Rockets reported today that Jabari Smith would be out with a left ankle sprain and Eric Gordon will sit out for rest.
Jabari Smith Jr. (left ankle sprain) and Eric Gordon. (rest) are out for the Rockets vs. Raptors tomorrow.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) October 6, 2022
Smith hurt his ankle at the end of practice on Wednesday, and John Lucas said, "Well, wait and see how the ankle reacts," in response to a possible return for Monday's game. With this being a preseason game, there is no reason to risk Smith playing Friday. Gordon, who is entering his 15th year, doesn't have much to prove when it comes to playing in the preseason.
The Rockets will be running out a new starting lineup with no Smith or Gordon. The likely candidates to start are Jae' Sean Tate, who missed Sunday's preseason opener, and KJ Martin, who surprisingly was one of the first players off the bench. The Rockets could also go with more shooting in the starting lineup by starting Garrison Mathews. Mathews struggled in the Rocket's win, but he may get a chance to start Friday’s game.
Coach Stephen Silas mentioned that people shouldn't take too much from the game one rotation, so the Rockets could go an entirely different route and start Tari Eason and Mathews. Either way, there should be plenty of minutes for players like Eason and Martin Jr.
Rockets and Raptors take the floor at 7:00pm tomorrow from the Toyota Center. Check out my report on Saturday, as I will cover the game from inside the arena for The Dream Shake.