Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs

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After an encouraging win over the Spurs in San Antonio, the Houston Rockets look forward to their second home game of the season, against the same Spurs team they played just Wednesday. The Rockets were able to pull out a two point win on Wednesday that saw James Harden have the first 15-assist triple-double in Rockets' history. Going into Saturday's game the Rockets rank fifth in offensive efficiency, 26th in defensive rating, and 13th in net rating.

The San Antonio Spurs had a game against the Detroit Pistons Friday night, in between the two games against Houston, that the Spurs won by 16 points, due to a strong second half. The Spurs are currently eighth in offensive rating, and seventh in defensive rating, and sixth in net rating. The Spurs are led in scoring by Kawhi Leonard, at 27.4 points per game, in assists by Tony Parker, who averages 4 per game, and in rebounds by Pau Gasol, at 6.8 rebounds a game.

Starting Lineups

The Rockets are going to stay with their new starting lineup that moved Eric Gordon to his role as a super sixth-man. Rockets fans can expect to see James Harden at point guard, Corey Brewer at shooting guard, Trevor Ariza at small forward, Ryan Anderson at power forward, and Clint Capela at center, with Eric Gordon playing more minutes than Corey Brewer at shooting guard throughout the game.

The Spurs got a little bit more healthy since the Rockets last saw them, with Frenchman Tony Parker returning from a 4 game absence on Friday. The Spurs are likely to start Tony Parker at point guard, Danny Green, who recently returned from an injury as well, at shooting guard, Kawhi Leonard at small forward, LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward, and Pau Gasol at center.

Three Things to Watch

  • James Harden: Point GAWD - For the season James Harden is averaging an insane 13 assists per game, 3.1 assists per game more than LeBron James, who is second in the league in that category. Harden has hit 15 assists in 5 out of the 8 games the Rockets have played thus far. It will be interesting to see if Harden can continue to carve up defenses like he has this season.

  • Can they do it again? - The Spurs are a tough match up, whether they are at home or on the road. If the Rockets can prove that Wednesday's game was more than an aberration, many will begin to give them more credit as a potential home-court team in the playoffs.

  • Home Court Advantage - Eight games in and the Rockets have only had one home game, where they just slipped by the Mavericks, after winning with much more breathing room on the road against the very same team. We should see if the Rockets are able to use the home crowd to help them play even better than they've shown, or if they are a team that doesn't perform much different whether they are home or on the road.


Prediction and Tip-Off

After just beating the Spurs in San Antonio (the Spurs only lost one game at home all of last season), I am feeling good about the Rockets chances on Saturday. One could make the argument that the Rockets will be facing a healthier Spurs team with Parker back, but he hasn't been effective throughout most of the season. Also, I personally believe Patty Mills has been the better player throughout the season. I predict the Rockets will win another tight one and head to 6-3 on the season.

Tip-off will be at 7:00 P.M. Central Time in the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, November 11th and will be televised on ROOT sports, with the radio broadcast on Sports Talk 790-AM.

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