The Houston Rockets have been slumping in January. They are 4-7 in their last 11 games, and that has led to them falling in the standings. Houston is now tied for fifth place with Dallas in the Western Conference, and that’s not where owner Tilman Fertitta expected the Rockets to be after acquiring Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster trade this offseason. That could lead to some massive changes at the end of this year if Houston is one-and-done in the playoffs, but for now, the Rockets are simply looking to stop their slide against the New Orleans Pelicans.
This game will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on February 2, 2020, and the game will be broadcast on ABC.
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Head-To-Head Results to Date
Houston has won two of its three games against New Orleans this season. In the first meeting, Houston needed to overcome a small fourth quarter deficit, and a poor performance from James Harden, to get the victory. Harden went 8-29 from the floor and 2-18 from downtown in the game, but Russell Westbrook notched a triple double to lead the way. The Beard was much better in the second game, dropping 39 points on the Pelicans while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor in a Houston win.
New Orleans beat Houston in late December, but the Rockets were seriously shorthanded in that game. Harden and Westbrook both sat out of that game, and the Rockets’ leading scorer was Danuel House Jr. Former Lakers Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram each dropped 27 points for the Pelicans in the victory.
Gerald Green is out for the remainder of the regular season for the Rockets, but the team is hoping that he will be able to participate in the playoffs. Nene will miss at least three more weeks with a hip injury too, but otherwise the Rockets are good to go.
Darius Miller suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon last week, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. That hurts the Pelicans’ depth in the front court, but the team is optimistic that Kenrich Williams will return from a back injury on Sunday.
Player to Watch
Zion Williamson has been as good as advertised in his first four games in the NBA. Williamson made his long-awaited debut in mid-January, and he has proven to be worth the wait. He has shot better than 50 percent from the floor in each of his first four games, finishing with at least 14 points each time out. Williamson is pulling down 8.3 RPG in those games, and he has shown a shooting touch you don’t see from big men. However, he is still a rookie, and there are parts of his game that need refinement. Williamson has committed 10 turnovers in those four games, and he is an abysmal 35.3 percent from the free throw line.
This is going to be a high-scoring game. Houston plays at the fastest tempo in the NBA, and New Orleans is one of the five fastest teams in the league too. Both these teams love to shoot from the perimeter, and all three previous meetings saw at least 238 total points scored. The Rockets are going to have a hard time stopping Williamson, and they have had a difficult time stopping Ingram, so the over is likely to hit.
Harden and Westbrook are going to go off in this game. New Orleans doesn’t have the perimeter defenders to shut them down, and they will stuff the stat sheet. The Pelicans will score enough to make this game go over, but the Rockets will get the win.
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