Houston Rockets At New Orleans Pelicans: Preview And Predictions

Daniel Benjamin - Author

Feb. 22 2017, Updated 11:38 a.m. ET

The Houston Rockets will begin the second half of the season on the road against the new-look New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 23. Game time is slated for 8 p.m. ET.

Houston has been a pleasant surprise this season in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s first season. The Rockets (40-18) are one of three teams to have won 40 games before the All-Star break. They need just two more wins to surpass last season’s win total.

James Harden has changed his game under D’Antoni, and is one of the front-runners for league MVP. Harden is having a career season, producing 15 triple-doubles — which is the second most in the league. More importantly, he has improved on the defensive end.

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Harden is not the only player thriving under D’Antoni. Eric Gordon is shooting the ball the best of his career, making a career-high 3.5 three-pointers a game. Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza are also averaging over two triples a game.

The Rockets, the second highest scoring team in the league, have five players averaging double-figures. And they just acquired another scorer in Lou Williams from the Los Angeles Lakers. Williams is having a career season, tallying 18.6 points a game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from beyond the arc.

The addition of Williams gives the Rockets the No. 1 and No. 2 (Gordon) scorer off the bench this season per ESPN. Williams, who has scored 25 games when coming off the bench 21 times in the past three seasons, has 1,065 points while Gordon has 770.

Calvin Watkins of ESPN is reporting that Williams will likely not play against the Pelicans on Thursday.

New Orleans (23-34) made a bold move acquiring DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings. Cousins is certainly talented but has been proven to be destructive as well. It will be interesting to see how the tandem of Cousins and Anthony Davis works.


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