What: Houston Rockets (4-1) vs. Charlotte Hornets (2-2)
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets will have their hands full with James Harden and the Houston Rockets coming to town for a Friday night matchup. With the Hornets coming off a dominant performance against the Denver Nuggets, Charlotte will be looking to keep their groove against this cross conference foe.
The 4-1 Rockets are without a doubt a force to be reckoned with. Their ability to space the floor and rain in 3-pointers will be extremely hard to defend. Luckily for the Hornets, its looking like point guard Chris Paul will remain out as he battles a knee injury.
While unfortunate, Paul’s absence doesn’t mean a whole lot as far as the Rockets production goes. We all know by now that Harden is more than capable at running the point guard position and finding his teammates for a healthy dosage of assists. But if anything, Paul’s absence is good for the Hornets, and we’ll take all that we can get.
Charlotte will still be without Cody Zeller, Michael Carter-Williams, Nicolas Batum and Julyan Stone who are all battling injuries of their own. It’s early on in the season and the Hornets are already living and dying by the next man up.
Chances are we will see the same starters Steve Clifford has been going with that includes Jeremy Lamb and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the lineup. More than likely, MKG will see an increase in minutes during his second game of the season.
If Frank Kaminsky, Malik Monk, and the rest of the Hornets bench can remain hot, this is definitely a game that the Hornets can find themselves competing in, but its going to take everything they have left in the tank.
Harden is going to get his, that’s pretty much a given. Charlotte is going to have to find a way to contain everyone around him, similar to how the Grizzlies were able to beat them on Monday night. Outside of Harden and Eric Gordon, the Houston supporting cast didn't do a whole lot, which lead to Harden and Gordon playing hero ball and Clint Capela doing his best to pick up some slack.
It was pretty much the same case for Houston in Philadelphia, but Gordon was able to bail them out with a game winning 3.
This is a winnable game if things go right for Hornets. Houston has had a little bit of luck on their side to start this season; if Charlotte can force the Rockets away from the three point line and win the turnover battle then they could very well be walking away 3-2.