Six weeks ago, the notion that the Dallas Mavericks would be higher up in the standings than the Houston Rockets at this point in the season seemed nearly impossible. And yet, as these two teams meet in Houston tonight, the Mavericks are 10th in the West with a 9-9 record and the Rockets are somehow 13th, with a 9-10 record.
Here are three things to think about before these teams play their first of four match ups this season.
Spider Man vs Spider man
Though they are unlikely to spend too much direct time on one another, the offensive battle between James Harden and Luka Doncic should be a joy to watch. Harden is obviously the much better player and is coming off a 54-8-13 night. He’s a potential blueprint for Maverick fans to hope for with Luka: a tall guard with alternative athleticism and a penchant for big shots. Both Harden and Doncic are extremely good at slowing down in space and navigating the lane to get off shots that don’t seem likely. It’s improbable that Doncic is ever the scorer that Harden is and yet there are some striking similarities to their games so watching the two compete could be a blast.
Dennis Smith is expected to play tonight after missing the Saturday game against the Boston Celtics. Smith injured his wrist at some point in the game last Wednesday against the Nets yet ended up playing a significant amount. Hopefully he’s healthy and Smith continues his strong shooting performance to start this season.
Chris Paul is currently questionable after missing the previous two games due to soreness in his left leg. With the Rockets looking to buck a three game losing streak it seems more likely than not that Paul suits up in an attempt to get Houston back on track.
Dwight Powell will miss his fourth consecutive game dealing with a knee injury he suffered against the Warriors.
How to watch
7:00 p.m. CT, FSSW or NBA League Pass