Game On: Rockets @ Pelicans

Published: January 15, 2014

The Rockets roll into New Orleans tonight to wrap up a four game road trip, with this being the 4th game in six nights for Houston.  If the Pelicans are looking to snap their losing streak against the good teams they’ve been facing recently, this is the one to circle.

In some ways, the injuries to the Pelicans are helping them.  Jason Smith has come back, and guys like Withey, Rivers, Miller – and, to be honest, Roberts – all know they are fighting for playing time.  That has upped the energy with which the Pelicans have been playing, which keeps them in games until the end, when everyone’s energy level rises and talent bears out.

Despite being much maligned, Gordon has been attacking at will in Jrue’s absence, and though his turnovers are high, he does force defenses to respond to him, creating opportunities.  Anthony Davis has also been more of a focus at times for the offense, and we’ve been seeing him getting his chances to attack the basket off the dribble with mixed results.

In truth, I find this an interesting time for the Pelicans.  The guys we had questions about are getting the chance to answer those questions, and Davis is getting the chance to stretch offensive muscles that atrophied a little with four other capable scorers around him.  It’s good to see what the Cornerstone can do for the team.

No word yet on whether Tyreke will come back from his ankle injury yet.

Keys to the Game

  • The Rockets are most potent with a free-wheeling attack.  If you can bait them into posting Howard all through the game, hunting that matchup breaks up their most effective attack, even if Howard is playing well. (Last game he got 24 points and 3 assists on 22 possessions.  Hardly world-beating)
  • I know this is like asking the sky to stop being blue, but please, the Pelicans need to stop fouling everyone.  The Rockets feast on fouls.  The Pelicans think that they should shower all and sundry with handfuls of fouls.  This could be ugly.
  • Aminu will probably guard Harden tonight, but if Tyreke isn’t available, I’d like to see if Darius Miller’s size would bother the Rocket guard any.  Plus it gives the team at least some potential shooting.

Free Withey!

Enjoy the game.


(Update:  Looks like Tyreke is not playing tonight)


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