Gametime: 8:30PM EST
These are two teams going in complete opposite directions. The Houston Rockets are rolling, winning 7 out of their last 10, behind their dynamic guard tandem in James Harden and Russell Westbrook. All 3 losses were to playoff teams. The Rockets destroyed the Hawks in their last game, winning 158-111, with Harden scoring 60 points in just 3 quarters of basketball. On the other end, we have a struggling Spurs squad that is going to be without their second leading scorer in LaMarcus Aldridge. Rudy Gay filled in for him last game, but the Spurs lost to a mediocre Pistons team by 34 points. The Spurs are 7-14 right now, and if they continue down this path, it will be the first time they will have missed the playoffs since 1996. All good things must come to an end, and it just doesn’t look like this Spurs team has the pieces to make a turn around. They play very little defense, and I don’t think they will magically be able to just flip a switch and all of a sudden be able to stop two of the most explosive guards in the NBA. For the Rockets, having the ability to keep either Harden or Westbrook on the floor at all times is a wonderful luxury to have, as both players have the ability to create for themselves and others from just about anywhere on the floor. The Spurs have lost 10 of 12 games, and in that period, the average margin of defeat has been over 10.5 points. This is a struggling Spurs team that I believe will have no answers for this explosive Rockets offense. I think this is simply another double digit loss for the Spurs at the very least, especially without their second leading scorer. There just isn’t enough on this Spurs roster to overcome any major personnel losses. My only argument against this one would be James Harden and (or) Russell Westbrook deciding to sit this one out for “load management” purposes, but I don’t think that happens as the Rockets would like to take care of business against what is now viewed as one of the weaker western conference teams, at least for the time being. The Spurs, and legendary head coach, Gregg Popovich, will have their work cut out for them in this one.