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Houston Rockets vs. Orlando Magic game preview

Houston Rockets v Orlando Magic Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Tonight’s game features two of the remaining teams without a road win. If the Houston Rockets can take down the Orlando Magic tonight, they will emerge from that group before the Golden State Warriors. That would be cool.

On paper, this is supposed to be the matchup of top 3 picks: Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith Jr. Banchero was slated to go third overall to Houston, but the Magic hid their intentions and took him first overall. That allowed the Rockets to take Smith Jr.

Banchero has been great to start the season, giving Orlando an infusion of offensive creation that they’ve been missing for a few years now. He’s averaging 22.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. He’s shooting 46% overall, but that’s being brought down by a 23% mark from deep. So the scouting report on him at this point is probably to keep him on the perimeter and force him to shoot. But he’s capable of making those shots too, and small sample sizes are not to be trusted.

Per Jonathan Feigen, the Rockets will be getting Smith Jr. back tonight. Jalen Green is probable with a knee bruise, and TyTy Washington could make his NBA debut tonight.

Orlando is missing Cole Anthony, Gary Harris, Markelle Fultz, and Moritz Wagner.

Tip-off is at 6:15pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest