Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Rockets - January 15, 2014

Pelicans vs. Rockets Game Preview

New Orleans wraps up a stretch of four straight games against three different Southwest Division opponents Wednesday, hosting the Houston Rockets in the Crescent City. It’s the second meeting of the 2013-14 season between the Pelicans and Rockets, who used a game-closing surge to defeat New Orleans in the previous Dec. 28 encounter. At the Toyota Center, Houston held a narrow 97-95 edge with 2:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, but put together a 10-3 spurt to secure a 107-98 victory. Rockets star guard James Harden helped put the game out of reach by tallying the last four points in the final minute of the contest.

Ryan Anderson paced New Orleans in the Dec. 28 matchup with 22 points and also often drew the unenviable assignment of having to defend against Dwight Howard in the low post, but Anderson was ruled out indefinitely last week due to a herniated disc. Anthony Davis turned in a monster 18-point, 16-rebound game against the Rockets.

The Rockets have put themselves in the thick of the race for a top-four seed in the Western Conference playoff field, behind one of their best starts to a season in recent memory. While Harden and Howard have led the way, Houston has also received excellent contributions from forwards Chandler Parsons and second-year pro Terrence Jones, a teammate of Davis at the University of Kentucky.

Following Wednesday’s game, the Pelicans and Rockets will square off twice more during the 2013-14 regular season, but not again until mid-April. New Orleans will visit Houston on April 12, followed by the Rockets returning to the Crescent City on April 16, the regular-season finale for both clubs.

Pelicans Eric Gordon
Intriguing matchup: Shooting Guard
Eric Gordon vs. James Harden
Gordon-Harden is a meeting of former NBA lottery picks who began their pro careers elsewhere in the West (Gordon with the Clippers; Harden with the Thunder). Gordon and the Pelicans’ defense will try to keep the left-handed Harden off the foul line, where he often adds significantly to his individual scoring totals.
Rockets James Harden