Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 19th game of the season against the Rockets in Houston are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina), who writes about the Rockets for the ESPN TrueHoop blog Red 94.
Wizards Starters (3-15):
Jordan Crawford, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor
Rockets Starters (9-11):
Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, Omer Asik
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Rockets over the past week?)
@MichaelVPina: The freshest thought in everyone’s mind is Jeremy Lin’s 38-point explosion against the Spurs on Monday night. While James Harden was sidelined with an injury, Lin took advantage of having the ball in his hands, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can repeat (or at least come close) to doing it again against a slightly less talented group in Washington.
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
@MichaelVPina: Chandler Parsons is a really good professional basketball player. He does all the little things winning teams need done on both ends of the court, each and every night. He pressures the opposing team’s best perimeter player, grabs offensive rebounds, hits open 3s, bails out teammates by cutting into open space at the perfect time…he’s just such an under-appreciated player.
Q #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
@MichaelVPina: Nene has only scored in double-digits three times this season, but he leads the Wizards with a 19.4 PER. Omer Asik is coming off a defensive effort that saw him hold Tim Duncan to one made basket in 32 minutes on Monday night. Nene and Asik facing off on the block should be fun to watch, whenever they’re matched up.
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
@Truth_About_It: The Rockets take a lot of shots, a result of them playing at the NBA’s fastest pace: 99.3 possessions per 48 minutes. Meanwhile, the Wizards play at the eighth slowest pace in the league: 93.73 possessions per 48.
When John Wall was on the court as an NBA soph, Washington had a pace of 96.31. During Wall’s rookie year, the team fielded a 97.35 pace with him on the court. So yea, the Rockets play with speed and purpose.
Houston attempts the second most 3-pointers in the NBA (27.3 per 48 minutes) after the New York Knicks (29.3 per 48) — the third-ranked Lakers attempt 23.3 shots from long range per 48 minutes. Houston, however, only sinks their 3s at the league’s 14th best rate (35.7%). But, with a team as bad offensively as the Wizards are, the Rockets shouldn’t have to worry about their ability to make shots, nor their Defensive Rating being one of the eight worst in the NBA (104.8 points per 100 possessions allowed). They can probably just sit back, run their offense, let the Wizards do their thing, and later collect the spoils of victory.
The Rockets are favored by 10.5 points and the over/under is 206 points (via USA Today).
@MichaelVPina: Wow. 10.5 points? I’m guessing the score will be 110-98 Rockets. Really going to focus in on how Lin plays post-breakout game with Harden by his side.
@Truth_About_It: The Hornets are pretty bad. The Rockets are not that bad. The Wizards, despite picking up three whole wins on the year, are still pretty bad. Thus, Houston is going to win, and they are going to cover that curiously large spread, 107-95.
[stats source: NBA.com/stats]