The Houston Rockets will face the San Antonio Spurs Friday night, creating another intense match-up within the Western Conference.
Since the San Antonio Spurs currently hold the #2 spot in the conference, most fans and critics likely expect Tony Parker and Tim Duncan to lead them to yet another victory.
— NBA (@NBA) December 25, 2015
As the underdogs for the match, the Rockets have the chance to prove to their biggest fans and most skeptical critics that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the West. On the list of key players that will undoubtedly receive a lot of attention from fans and critics tonight, Rockets center Dwight Howard is more than likely near the top.
With rumors circulating online about the eight-time All-Star wanting to jump ship yet again, Howard put an end to the speculation last week. During an interview with USA Today, the 30-year-old NBA star made it clear that he does not plan on leaving Houston behind next summer.
“I chose to go to Houston…so why would I just say, ‘I’m not happy’ and leave? I chose this place… And I want to make this thing work here.”
Howard further addressed the concerns about the Rockets’ lackluster performance so far this season. He admitted that the team hasn’t “been playing great basketball” and that he personally felt his “numbers don’t seem like [he’s] been playing great.” However, the Houston Rockets star player did not bite his tongue when he then stated his primary focus at this point in the season.
“The only thing on my mind is trying to grow as a man and grow as a teammate and a leader. All the BS that’s around, sometimes it is frustrating to hear it, because I know who I am as a man and I know what I’m trying to do for this city.”
Which Texas team will be able to add another win to their season standings Friday night — the Spurs or the Rockets? Win or lose, the San Antonio Spurs will still secure their #2 spot in the West after their game against Houston with the Golden State Warriors gripping tightly onto their 1st place lead.
However, a win for the Rockets will allow them to continue their upward climb, taking another big step in their comeback from a troubled start earlier this season.
“We’re excited—we’ve been playing really well.” —James Harden on tonight’s game vs Spurs pic.twitter.com/BdY498RjCC
— Rockets Nation (@Rockets__Nation) December 26, 2015
Quite a few people strongly believe that the Spurs are going to upset the Rockets. In addition to the Rockets only winning three of their last six games, a lot of eyes seem to be focusing on the impressive performance streak of Kawhi Leonard.
According to Winners and Whiners, the 24-year-old small forward is expected to give James Harden a run for his money on the court, using his award-winning defensive skills to shut Harden down every chance he gets.
It is crystal clear that a win on Friday night will mean a lot more to the Rockets than the Spurs at this point in their respective seasons. However, that does not mean that San Antonio will make it any easier for Houston to take it from them.
Will Dwight Howard prove on the court that he does indeed want to “make this thing work” in Houston? Or will Houston fans be faced with another disappointing loss?
The game between the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs will start at 8 p.m. (Eastern Time). It will air on ESPN, but you can also watch the game online by visiting WatchESPN.
[Image Credit: Doug Pensinger & Patrick Smith/Getty Images)