houston rockets vs new orleans pelicans predictions and preview

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NBA houston rockets vs new orleans pelicans predictions and preview


 

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

 

 

The New Orleans Pelicans, winners of two of three and four of six, travel to Houston to take on the red hot Rockets. After losing sixteen games in a row, the young Rockets have caught fire, reeling off six straight wins. Game time is set for 7pm EST.

 

Righting the Ship

The New Orleans Pelicans have suddenly found a winning formula after spending the majority of the season floundering without their marquee player. Still playing without Zion Williamson, who recently had another setback that pushed back his start date, the Pelicans have won four out of six games and now have seven on the season and have moved up to 13th in the Western Conference following a 107-91 win at Dallas.

 

Brandon Ingram scored 24 points and New Orleans in the win which came just nights after the Pelicans were beat by these same Mavericks at home, by 32 points. In the first matchup, Dallas set a franchise record by shooting 69% from the floor. New Orleans rebounded in this matchup, holding the Mavs to just 41% shooting in the rematch.

"We had to fix the matchups, switch some things around," said rookie Herbert Jones, who spent some time defending Luca Doncic along with Garrett Temple and frustrated the Dallas superstar. "We knew that they had made a bunch of tough shots. We just came out ready to compete on the defensive end and make it super tough on them. I feel like we did that tonight."

New Orleans actually trailed at the half, 48-44, but tightened up the defensive efforts in the second half as they went on a 26-8 run to take control of the game. Along with his team-high 24 points, Ingram spread the wealth by dishing out 12 assists. The moving ball was contagious, a fact not unnoticed by head coach Willie Green.

"Everyone feels a part of the game when the ball is moving and hopping," Green said. "I'm proud of the turnaround ... and with the resilience of our team coming back and winning on their home floor."

New Orleans now heads to Houston for a matchup of a team even hotter than they are as the two teams jockey for position in the Western Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

Rockets Red Hot

Don't look now, but the young Rockets are growing up before our eyes. The Rockets won their season opener and then struggled through a massive 16-game losing streak. The team never lost their focus, however, and have now reeled off five straight games. While they still sit in last place in the Western Conference following their 118-116 win over the Magic, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

"It's all about growth," veteran guard Eric Gordon said after the win. "Whenever you see a streak like this, you see and know what it takes to win. So you can never forget moments like this. And you can't never forget the moments beforehand when we lost all those games because during that time, it wasn't fun and it's fun now and we've got to keep it going."

Gordon had reason to be happy after the latest victory. It was the veteran guard's short jumper with under two seconds remaining that sealed the win for Houston. Gordon finished the game with 24 points and saved the Rockets from almost blowing a double digit lead. Winning by 13 points, the Rockets watched the Magic go on a 13-0 run to tie the game at 114 with under a minute to play. Gordon took over from there by hitting a floater and then followed a Magic basket with his last second heroics.

"You've got to make a play in a situation like that," Gordon said.

While the Rockets expect the type of leadership and playmaking of a veteran like Gordon, it is a great sign that their young players are responding as well. Christian Wood continued his stellar play of late with 20 points and 14 rebounds and Garrison Matthews, playing in place of injured rookie Jalen Green, scored 16 points.

“They’re definitely getting more confident but they’re also getting more comfortable," Houston coach Stephen Silas said after his team extended their win streak.

Houston will have a chance to move past the Pelicans in the standings with a win in this matchup.

 





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