clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Houston Rockets vs. Charlotte Hornets game preview

NBA: Houston Rockets at Charlotte Hornets Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

This is what the English would call a six-pointer.

In the soccer world (everywhere besides the MLS, I guess), they have promotion and relegation. There are enough teams that top league teams can drop to a lower division and an upstart from the second division can move up to play with the big boys.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll stay in England since everyone has at least heard of the Premier League. The bottom three teams each year are relegated, and three teams from the second division (called The Championship) are brought up. The Premier League does not have a playoff format, and sometimes the champion is known (or at least expected) months in advance of the end of the season. That can remove some of the luster, especially around the middle of the table. However, some of the best games down the stretch are those played between two teams fighting for survival. Since the winning team gets three points and the losers are prevented from grabbing those same three points, it’s become en vogue to call these matchups a six-pointer.

The matches are usually incredibly testy. Both sides know what’s at stake, and jobs are on the line. Most of the players on the pitch know that if their team gets relegated, they will be playing for a different team in a different city (or country!) the following season. Wages can go down and reputations hurt with relegation. The fans understand this and the home crowd is desperate for a win. Truly, it’s an environment that is most reminiscent of a Game 7 in US sports, except both teams are distinctly flawed and just trying to stay up so they can retool and be better the following year.

The Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets are the two worst teams in the NBA, by record. If relegation were a thing in American sports, this would be a six-pointer. Of course, if there was relegation in the NBA, the Rockets would have been in the G-League last season.

Houston is on a 10-game losing streak. The Hornets have dropped five straight. Gordon Hayward and Cody Martin are doubtful for Charlotte, and Kevin Porter Jr. is questionable for the Rockets.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest