The Houston Rockets head back on the road to take on the Mavericks in Dallas.
Last season, despite only finishing with only 17 wins, the Rockets won the season series over their much-ballyhooed rivals. Along with Kevin Porter Jr.’s 50 point outburst against the eventual champions, it was easily one of the highlights of a lost season for Houston.
This season, the expectations are about the same for Houston, while Dallas is thinking of finally slaying their demons and making a deep postseason run. The Mavericks have had the misfortune in back-to-back seasons of running into a team in the Los Angeles Clippers that is built to defend their preferred style of play. Dallas had their chances to wrap up the series in Games 6 and 7, but were unable to finish the job. This year could be different.
Dallas let Rick Carlisle walk and brought in Jason Kidd. The hope is that Kidd can unlock the next puzzle piece in Luka Doncic’s game. However, his real task will be integrating Kristaps Porzingis and turning Dallas back into a team with two stars. If not, Dallas is on the hook for KP’s large contract for two more seasons (sound familiar?). Doncic’s rookie deal runs out at the end of this season before his supermax kicks in. The Mavs have to hope they can make KP useful because otherwise they won’t be able to bring in big name free agents until 2024.
Houston found a bit of a rhythm in the first half against Boston. Now they need to be able to sustain that for four quarters. Young teams also historically struggle on the road, and a capacity American Airlines Center is sure to be rowdy and excited to knock off their I-45 rivals.
Oh, and Alperen Sengun needs to be playing more than 20 minutes per game.
Tip-off is at 7:30pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest