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Getting Even: Can the Rockets force a season series tie against the Pelicans?

The Rockets’ rookies have been turning a corner lately. Can they fight hard enough to win in the Big Easy?

NBA: Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans
Will the Pelicans make life hard on the Rockets in the Big Easy?
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets (17-50) vs New Orleans Pelicans (27-40), March 13, 2022, 6:00 p.m. CT

Location: Smoothie King Arena, New Orleans, LA

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: SportsTalk790

Online: Rockets App

Pelicans SB Nation Blog: The Bird Writes

Projected Starting Lineups

Rockets: Kevin Porter Jr. Jalen Green, Eric Gordon, Jae’Sean Tate, Christian Wood

Pelicans: Devonte’ Graham, Herb Jones, Naji Marshall, Jaxson Hayes, Jonas Valanciunas

The Houston Rockets have given their fanbase a little more reason than usual for optimism in March.

Granted, they’ve lost 5 of their 7 games during the month, but context is key. They pushed the contending Jazz to overtime in one of those losses. Meanwhile, the two wins over the Lakers and Grizzlies were signature wins in a generally difficult season.

Perhaps more importantly, Jalen Green has been playing the best basketball of his young NBA career. He’s averaging 21.7 points per game over 7 outings in March. He’s tightening his shot selection, exploring his midrange game, and generally blossoming into a star player.

The same couldn’t necessarily be said of anyone starting for the New Orleans Pelicans in tonight’s action. They’ve grown accustomed to life without Zion, but the absences of Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum deal serious blows to their offense.

This could be a winnable game for the Rockets, but they’ll need to gameplan for the Pels’ size. A frontcourt combination of Valanciunas and Hayes stands to bully the much smaller duo of Wood and Tate.

Look for the Rockets to run fast, and run often.

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