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Charlotte Bobcats vs Houston Rockets game preview

Gametime: 7:00 p.m. EST

The Bobcats and Rockets faced off to begin the season in a matchup of two of the biggest free agent signings of the offseason in Al Jefferson and Dwight Howard.

Jefferson, who had suffered a fairly severe ankle sprain a couple weeks earlier, made his return to take on the West's young rising team. Unfortunately, he came back too soon. He was a step slower than normal and was pretty thoroughly contained by Howard's defense. The Bobcats put up decent effort but lost by 13 points.

Now Jefferson's been hitting his stride on offense for a couple months, only rarely having an underwhelming scoring performance. Howard's shotblocking and mobility normally gives Jefferson trouble, but Dwight is doubtful for tonight's game with fluid in his left ankle. Omer Asik can still fill in capably, however. He doesn't have the scoring proficiency but Asik's a very talented defender and rebounder.

James Harden is of course the centerpiece of Houston's offense, equipped with the ability to create his own shot off the dribble and a great jumpshot. People have noticed his defense is notoriously bad at this point with poor footwork and a ballwatching habit.

Chandler Parsons is also a dangerous weapon for the Rockets' three-heavy offense, which tosses up the most attempts from behind the arc. He's a solid shooter and great in transition and near the hoop because of stupendous vertical gifts.

Houston's similar to Portland in that they both take a ton of threes and reap the rewards of a more efficient offense. The Bobcats will need to be just as judicial in executing their defensive gameplan. Houston runs a bit more uptempo and they have some better depth off the bench, however.

One of the more interesting matchups to look for aside from Jefferson and Asik will be Kemba Walker going up against Patrick Beverley. Walker's quickness and agility is scary for most defenders but Beverley is quite possibly the best point guard defender in the league. He's pesteringly hounding on the ball and quick enough to stay in front of his opponents. Watching him scrambling through screens is tiring in itself.