Southwest Division standings (as of Tuesday)
Well, the Rockets gained ground on the Grizzlies with their 2-1 week! The bad news is that every other team in the division went undefeated, outside of New Orleans losing at Dallas. So there wasn’t a lot of overall ground gained. Still, baby steps for the Rockets after that ugly 0-5 start. Here’s who they have this week:
Tuesday Nov. 16 vs. Chicago Bulls — Chicago is 5-3 even without Carlos Boozer, but Kyle Korver may miss this game. Derrick Rose and company come in on a three game win-streak, with hard-fought victories over the Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets sandwiching a pasting of the Golden State Warriors. Ex-Rocket Keith Bogans will come back to town. The Rockets may be without Chase Budinger for this game, as the Rockets say that he is day-to-day following his ankle roll in Friday’s game at Indiana. Prediction: Bulls 104, Rockets 106
Wednesday Nov. 17th: @ Oklahoma City Thunder – Great, give the Rockets a road back-to-back against Kevin Durant and company. While the Thunder have struggled at times compared to lofty expectations this season, I can’t see anyone the Rockets have stepping up and defending Durant and Russell Westbrook. Prediction: Rockets 103, Thunder 109
Friday Nov. 19th @ Toronto Raptors – Having constructed one of most offensive-extreme rosters in NBA history, the Raptors will try to shoot the Rockets off the court with Andrea Bargnani, Leandro Barbosa, and DeMar DeRozan. Unfortunately for them, they can’t rebound to save their lives without Reggie Evans on the floor, and he basically plays defense on both sides of the floor. Following the one week timetable, this would be the game that Yao would logically be available to return for. I’ll take the over on that one. Prediction: Rockets 118, Raptors 110.
Monday Nov. 22nd vs. Phoenix Suns — The Suns just lost Robin Lopez for a few weeks, so the Rockets will be dealing with Steve Nash, 8 different small forwards, and Channing Frye. This could be a big game for the Rockets bigs, in particular Luis Scola and Jordan Hill. Should be another barnburner with the Suns ranking poorly in defense, as is their M.O. Prediction: Rockets 123, Suns 118
Other Southwest Division schedules for this week:
New Orleans: Tues vs.DAL, Fri vs. CLE, Sun @ SAC, Mon @ LAC
San Antonio: Wed vs CHI, Fri @ UTAH, Sat vs. CLE, Mon vs. ORL
Dallas: Wed @ NO, Fri vs CHI, Sat @ ATL
Memphis: Tues vs. POR, Fri @ WAS, Sat vs MIA
Pulling for the Clippers and 76ers last week didn’t do us much good. This week we’ll be pulling mainly for the Bulls (outside of tonight, of course) and the Cavaliers. San Antonio draws the hardest schedule this week, with Dallas a close second due to the lack of a fourth game.
New Orleans: 1.33
San Antonio: 4.33
Looks about right to me. Maybe New Orleans is too high in the long-term, but that should adjust as the season wears on. What do you think?
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