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Houston Rockets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game preview

The Rockets look to bounce back against the injury-riddled Cavaliers

NBA: Houston Rockets at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers got some bad news recently with injuries to both Darius Garland and Evan Mobley. Both players will be out for a bit.

Nevertheless, the Cavs hosted the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night and led wire-to-wire, winning 127-119. They had six players finish in double figures, led by Jarrett Allen with 25 and Donovan Mitchell with 22. They also finished with 32 assists. They shot about the same overall as the Hawks, and actually gave up over 40% from deep and sent the Hawks to the line 25 times. How did they win? On the offensive glass, where they snagged 18 offensive rebounds. That led to 16 more shots than the Hawks, which was the difference.

That’s a worrying sign for the Rockets, who have been beaten on the glass more than a few times this season, including last night when the Milwaukee Bucks grabbed 16 offensive boards. So that’s the early indication of how Cleveland will look to win without Garland and Mobley: crash the offensive glass and spread the ball around. If the Rockets can limit second chance points and stay solid on defense, they’ll have a chance. But on the second night of a back-to-back on the road, that’s not an easy task.

The Rockets might finally be getting over the illness that has been running through the squad. Amen Thompson missed Sunday night’s game, but for now (knock on wood) it seems like he’s the only one still dealing with it. The Rockets have struggled to find time for Fred VanVleet to sit, and one possible solution would be have their backup point guard available. Aaron Holiday has been more than useful, but he’s less of a distributor than a shot maker on offense. Jalen Green’s playmaking in Milwaukee was an encouraging sign. We’ve seen Green have nights where he runs the offense well over the past three seasons, but it hasn’t always stuck.

Tip-off

6pm CT

How to Watch

Space City Home Network

Injuries/Other

Rockets

Amen Thompson-OUT (illness)

Cavaliers

Evan Mobley-OUT (knee)

Darius Garland-OUT (jaw)

Ty Jerome-OUT (ankle)

The Line (as of this post)

CLE -5

Looking ahead because we can

Wednesday against Atlanta at home