When the Houston Rockets last saw the Brooklyn Nets on January 3, the Rockets were the home team and the Nets came in on the second night of a back-to-back. Fast forward three-and-a-half weeks, and the roles have been reversed.
Obviously, if you read this site, you understand the added stakes of this game. But hopefully you’ll humor me while I explain it to those who are not aware. The Rockets do not own their own pick for the upcoming NBA Draft, but they do own Brooklyn’s pick thanks to the James Harden trade. Therefore, it is in Houston’s best interests for Brooklyn to lose as many games as possible. So tonight takes on extra meaning because not only does Houston want to win the game for the purposes of pushing back into the play-in picture, but a win for Houston would also be a loss for Brooklyn.
The Nets are playing for themselves, and tanking does nothing for them since Houston has their selection in both rounds. So they just want to win to rain on Houston’s parade. Okay, and because they also are trying to get into the play-in race in the East, where teams in the seventh-11th spots are all on losing streaks despite trying to win and the teams below them are either trying to tank (Toronto, Charlotte) or are tanking because they are actually terrible (Washington, Detroit).
The Nets will be without Cameron Johnson (personal reasons), but they played Thursday night so they should be ready to go. Expect Cam Thomas to score more than the four points he had in the first meeting and be ready for Brooklyn to shoot a lot better than that game as well, where they shot under 40% from the field, under 30% from three, and just over 60% from the free throw line. And even with those terrible numbers, the Nets were up at halftime and only lost because of a poor third quarter.
On a personal note, I’ll be away for the next few days and will be missing the next two previews. Xiane has kindly offered to write them up. Please treat him with respect and leave some comments.
How to Watch
Space City Home Network
Tari Eason-OUT (leg)
Jabari Smith Jr.-GTD (ankle)
Cameron Johnson-OUT (personal)
Ben Simmons-OUT (back)
Day’Ron Sharpe-OUT (knee)
The Line (as of this post)
Looking ahead because we can
Monday at home against the Los Angeles Lakers