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Houston Rockets vs Washington Wizards: Match Preview and Predictions - 30th October 2019

Jason Mills
ANALYST
Preview
Timeless

Washington Wizards suffered a narrow loss in their last match.
Washington Wizards suffered a narrow loss in their last match.

Match details

Fixture: Houston Rockets vs Washington Wizards

Date and time: Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET

Venue: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

Last game result

Washington Wizards (1-2): 122-124 loss against San Antonio Spurs (October 26t th, 2019)

Houston Rockets (2-1):116-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder (October 24th, 2019)

Match overview

The Washington Wizards lead the inter-conference head-to-head against the Houston Rockets 80-71. The match on Wednesday in Washington will feature two teams with different desires.  Both sides made significant offseason changes, the Wizards in hopes of returning to the playoffs and the Rockets in hopes of winning an NBA Title.

After missing the playoffs in the 2018/19 season, the Wizards have changed their lineup dramatically. It now consists of 11 players with three years of experience or less. So far, the team is 1-2 after three games. They have received solid performances from their rookie forward Rui Hachimura to this point as he is averaging 16.3ppg and 7.7rpg.

The Houston Rockets made the playoffs in the Western Conference last year.  They were eliminated in the second round by the Golden State Warriors. After two straight seasons of being blocked on the path to championship glory, the Rockets went out and traded point guard Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook formerly of the OKC Thunder. So far, Westbrook has been a good addition to the roster with 24.3ppg, 12.7rpg, and 9.7apg.

Key players

Houston Rockets – Eric Gordon

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Eric Gordon is a shooting specialist the Rockets have relied on now for more than three years. At the moment, that reliance is a sign of weakness in the roster that general manager Daryl Morey has assembled. This is a double-edged sword. In the Rockets’ first three games, Gordon was the only substitute to score in double digits and he is averaging 33.3mpg. The problem is Eric Gordon, at age 31, has had several legs and knee injuries that have seen him play 70 or more games in a season just twice in his career.

Therefore, relying on him heavily off the bench is like playing with fire. What is not Gordon’s fault is that while he has essentially been playing starters minutes off the bench the remaining, substitutes have been non-productive this early in the season.

Rui Hachimura has been impressive for the Washington Wizards.
Rui Hachimura has been impressive for the Washington Wizards.

Wizards- Rui Hachimura

The Wizards got a poised and steady player when they landed Rui Hachimura ninth overall at the 2019 NBA Draft. He had played three seasons for Gonzaga, totaling 102 college games. His repertoire of work at the college level has translated into a solid start to his NBA career. The Wizards have a young man who is already, albeit three games into the season, their second-leading scorer behind only Bradley Beal. With John Wall probably out for the season as he continues to recover from injury, the Wizards need somebody like Hachimura to step up and support Beal offensively. Aside from his 16.3ppg average, Hachimura is averaging 32.3mpg as a starter and is shooting a solid 46.9% from the field. 

Predicted starting lineups

Houston Rockets – Russell Westbrook, James Harden, P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, Clint Capela

Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal, Ish Smith, Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Isaac Bonga

Rockets vs Wizards Match prediction

The Wizards split a pair of road games to start the season and then lost their home opener 124-122 to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night by two points. It's hard to say how good or bad the Wizards will be at home this season since the roster is significantly different from last year when they went 22-19 at home. 

One trend that seems have continued is the Wizards averaged 106.3ppg and gave up just 105.7ppg last season. In their two losses this year, they were outscored by a total of 10 points or just five possessions. Another interesting development is a young Wizards squad has eight players averaging double-digit scoring three games into the season. 

Perhaps feeling the pressure of being the go-to guy, Bradley Beal needs to improve his shooting efficiency. He is averaging 20.3ppg but his shooting percentage is only 30.6 and his 3-point shooting is 23.3% through three games and needs to buckle up soon.

The Rockets bench is struggling as they face a young productive Wizards side. Other than Eric Gordon, the Rockets bench has produced 33 points in three games. The Rockets are averaging 117.7ppg to this point but they are also giving up 117.3ppg. 

The Wizards knack for staying close in games and Houston’s lack of bench production means this contest between the Wizards and Rockets should be a close affair that the Rockets will probably end up winning.

Where to watch Rockets vs Wizards?

This Western Conference match-up can be seen on television at NBC Sports Washington or stream it live online with NBA League Pass.

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