The Houston Rockets are the toughest team to pin down this year. The team has many pure shooters, but one has to wonder how they will play in their final eight games after such a long hiatus. Will they continue their hot streak, or will this stretch reflect the game in which they shot 0 for 27 from three in the 2018 playoffs?
In recent news, Russell Westbrook has tested positive for COVID-19. Just days into the bubble, one of the Rockets’ stars has succumbed to the global pandemic. At this time it’s unclear if he brought the virus into the bubble himself or caught it from someone else in Orlando. Regardless, Houston could potentially have one less star on the floor when the season begins.
July 31st vs. Dallas Mavericks: Loss
It will be hard for a three-point shooting team to immediately return to form. The Rockets will struggle early on, and 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis will terrorize them on the boards.
August 2nd vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Loss
There isn’t much need for an explanation here. Giannis Antetokounmpo will be unstoppable against the Rockets. Nobody on the Rockets’ roster is tall enough, strong enough, or talented enough on defense to stop the Greek Freak.
August 4th vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Win
This is the game where James Harden will shine. The Trail Blazers don’t have a guard who’s able to stop Harden’s shooting, and he’ll have a field day. Even Russell Westbrook will dominate the paint knowing neither Damian Lillard nor C.J McCollum can stop him.
August 6th vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Win
Harden will score at least 60 in this upset victory as he attempts to show the league why he’s an MVP contender. This game will be fantastic for the Rockets because it will show the whole NBA that they can win games against the very best.
August 9th vs. Sacramento Kings: Win
The Rockets are a team that will surprise many people this fall. Some teams might rest players and lose some winnable games, but Houston will stray from that strategy. They can’t afford bad losses as they try to advance in the Western Conference standings.
August 11th vs. San Antonio Spurs: Win
The Spurs are an interesting team, and in years past they have dominated the Rockets. However, this year they don’t have LaMarcus Aldridge in their rotation due to injury. They’ll have to lean on DeMar Derozan, who’s already on the tail end of his prime. Harden will outplay this Spurs team with ease.
August 12th vs. Indiana Pacers: Win
With Victor Oladipo out, the Rockets should find themselves in cruise mode. The Pacers have talented starters in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, but from there the team’s talent starts to dwindle. Every Rockets player demands respect from the three point line, and that could be troublesome for their opponents.
August 14th vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Loss
This game will pit one of the league’s tallest teams against one of its shortest teams. The 76ers dominate the paint while the Rockets shoot at will from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the Rockets will lose their final game of the season due to Philadelphia’s rebounding advantage.
With a 5-3 record, the Rockets could find themselves as high as the second seed in the West. On the other hand, if they experience another shooting slump, they could fall all the way down to the eighth seed. Houston holds the sixth seed at the moment, and they’ll need to regain their momentum from March in order to hold on to it or improve upon it.