Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs Washington Wizards

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Coming off of a blowout loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Rockets find themselves back at .500 with a record of 3-3. The Rockets started out hot but struggled to find their shot late in the game and the defense was disastrous throughout. The Rockets now head to Washington for another game on the road and hope to play much better than they did Saturday afternoon. The Rockets are now 5th in offensive rating, 28th in defensive rating, and 17th in net rating for the season.

The Washington Wizards come into Monday's game 1-4 after a two point loss in Orlando. The Wizards have struggled to find their groove, as they have certainty not lived up to expectations so far this young season. The Wizards currently rank 24th in offensive rating, 22nd in defensive rating, and 29th in net rating, ahead of only the 76ers. John Wall leads the Wizards in both points and assists, at 22 points and 10 assists per game, while Marcin Gortat leads the team in rebounding at an impressive 12.4 rebounds per game.

Starting Lineups

Rockets fans can expect more of the same from the Rockets, as they will likely be starting James Harden at point guard, Gordon at shooting guard, Ariza at small forward, Anderson at power forward, and Capela at center.

The Wizards did not change their starting lineup over the off-season, instead trying to fix their bench, and retain their big free agent, Bradley Beal, giving him a max contract. The aforementioned Bradley Beal and the explosive John Wall team up to form the Wizards starting backcourt.The Wizards' front court consists of former first round pick, Otto Porter at small forward, Markieff Morris at power forward, and Marcin Gortat at center.

Three Things to Watch

  • Defense optional – The Rockets' defensive numbers have been bad up to Saturdays game, but, outside of the Lakers game, the Rockets' defense seemed to be fine by the eye test. Saturdays game looked like a train wreck, the Rockets could not get out onto the Hawks' shooters and Nene looked like a turnstile at the rim. It should be interesting to watch how the Rockets' defense comes out on Monday, to see if Saturday is what to expect or just an outlier.

  • Turnovers - The Rockets seemed to be unable to hold onto the ball on Saturday, sloppy passes and loose handles plagued them throughout the game, leading to a season high, 25 turnovers. Hopefully D'Antoni went to work, getting his guys to execute and keep mistakes to a minimum.

  • Not another 41-41 season - I know, it's early and I'm probably overreacting, but I want to see the Rockets come out and prove they aren't a .500 team anymore, leaving last seasons disappointment behind.

Prediction and Tip-Off

I think the Rockets will, and should, win by a significant margin against a struggling Washington Wizards team. I wouldn't be surprised to see Nene have a strong outing against his former team.

Tip-off will be at 6:00 P.M. Central Time in the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on Monday, November 7th and will be televised on ROOT Sports, with the radio broadcast on Sports Talk 790-AM.

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