After losing eight of nine, the Houston Rockets have won three of their last four games, and are looking to get back on track in the Western Conference. Led by James Harden, the Rockets will host Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Bobcats tonight.
The Bobcats are losers of 10 of their last 12, but managed to step their effort level up in January. The Bobcats ended January with a blowout loss to the Spurs on the road, but aside from that and their game against the Indiana Pacers on the road, the team has been a lot more competitive in their games despite bad results.
The Bobcats played the Rockets last month in Charlotte and came close to knocking off Houston down the stretch, but ultimately couldn’t pull it out. Kemba Walker had 35 in that game, but the Rockets were able to pull ahead through James Harden’s free throw attempts and big shots by Carlos Delfino and Patrick Beverly.
The Rockets are one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. They push the ball, have a lot of shooters, and athleticism on the perimeter. More importantly they’re a young team with fresh legs and they never stop going at teams. The Bobcats did a great job of keeping up with them at home in Charlotte, but on the road things could get much more challenging.
Harden will be the biggest concern of the Bobcats for this game. Harden gets to the line about 10 times a game, so no team has really been able to contain him once he gets inside the paint. The Bobcats need to do a better job of protecting penetration, and force some jumpshots from Harden. Harden’s shooting about 37% from the field in his last 10 games.
Rockets center Omer Asik is also a concern. The Bobcats don’t have a player who can impact the game with rebounding and size like Asik, so Biyombo and others will need to do a good job battling with him down low.
Hopefully we’ll see another good game between these two, but with a different result from January. The Bobcats and Rockets are 1 and 2 respectively in backcourt scoring, and rely a lot on perimeter play, shooting and getting to the line. This seems like another great opportunity to see if any of the Bobcats three-guard lineups can take advantage of the Rockets. There’s a good bit of similarities with these young teams, so it should be fun to watch.