Houston Rockets face their in-state rivals San Antonio Spurs in the pre-season scrimmage at Toyota Center, tomorrow on Thursday morning (IST).
Pre-season can never be an indicator of a team's true potential, neither the negative results should have any impact on the team's morale and momentum ahead of the start of the actual campaign. That's why not much should be looked into Spurs' display in the pre-season so far. Believe it, the Spurs are a playoff team, despite some factions and corners of the NBA having a completely different analogy in that regard.
The reason being, Golden State Warriors are weak this season, Lakers are still trying to weave around both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while the marriage between James Harden and Russell Westbrook is still new and untested by the toughness of the long and arduous regular season.
What competition it is? NBA Pre-season 2019
The match will be played between Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center, in downtown Houston, Texas. The arena has a capacity of 18,300.
Match Day: October 17, 2019, @ 05:30 AM IST
Sony Sports Network has the rights to stream NBA Pre-season 2019 in India. Premier members can also catch the Live-Action on SonyLiv App.
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How both the teams have done in the pre-season?
Rockets have won two and lost once in the three pre-season games heading into the scrimmage against San Antonio Spurs. Head coach Mike D'Antoni has surprised everybody with his approach in the pre-season as almost all the first-team stars are clocking more than 20 minutes in the exhibition games.
In fact, James Harden has racked up 28, 27 and 28 minutes in the first three preseason games, the most in Rockets team. While the last two games gave us some idea about how Rockets will go into the 2019-20 season. The line-up is pretty clear with Tucker, Capela, Gordon, Harden and Westbrook making the starting five, but it seems Austin Rivers will be given a huge role from the bench this season, with Ryan Anderson, Ben McLemore, and Thabo Sefolosha not far behind.
San Antonio Spurs:
Spurs are without a win in the pre-season so far, losing the game against Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, and New Orleans Pelicans.
That said, Gregg Popovich has used different combinations so far in the exhibition games. LaMarcus Aldridge has been used in the back-court in those games, while Jakob Poeltl defending the rim. Almost all the bench players got a good run-in in the pre-season.
HOU vs SAS Dream11 team News:
Mike D'Antoni and Houston Rockets suffered a huge set-back before the start of the 2019-20 regular season as they lost Gerald Green for the whole of the campaign. The 33-year-old Rockets great will be missing the games with a broken foot.
While Michael Frazier (left calf strain) and Ray Spalding (ankle) are both listed as out from the next game due to their respective injuries.
What does it mean for Rockets?
Green had other options in the off-season but decided to stay with the Rockets after signing a one-year deal. He figured heavily in SPurs' rotation last season and will surely be missed. But his absence gives an opportunity to the players like Ben McLemore, Danuel House, Thabo Sefolosha and Chris Clemons to rack up more minutes this season.
San Antonio Spurs:
There are no reported injuries from San Antonio Spurs' roster ahead of this game.
Star forward LaMarcus Aldrige and 2nd unit star Rudy Gay were both held out of the last game due to rest purposes. Expect Popovich to name the duo in this game.
Spurs' 2nd unit:
Lonnie Walker V clocked 25 minutes in the preseason opener but has seen his game time reduced significantly in the subsequent matches. Mills and Belinelli, meanwhile, are getting more regular minute which is an indication that the duo will be leading Spurs' 2nd unit charge this season.
Squad for the NBA Pre-season 2019:
Houston Rockets squad:
James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Clint Capela, Gary Clark, Chris Clemons, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Jaron Blossomgame, Gerald Green, Danuel House, Ben McLemore, Austin Rivers, Anthony Bennett, Michael Frazier, Thabo Sefolosha, P. J. Tucker, Shamorie Ponds, Isaiah Hartenstein,
San Antonio Spurs Squad:
LaMarcus Aldridge, Marco Belinelli, DeMarre Carroll, DeMar DeRozan, Drew Eubanks, Bryn Forbes, Rudy Gay, Daulton Hommes, Keldon Johnson, Dedric Lawson, Trey Lyles, Chimezie Metu, Patty Mills, Dejounte Murray, Jakob Poeltl, Luka Samanic, Lonnie Walker IV, Quinndary Weatherspoon, Derrick White
Players to watch out for: (Captain options):
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HOU vs SAS Dream11 Teams (Starting Lineup; Probables):
Likely to feature from the bench:
HOU vs SAS Dream11 Teams:
INDIA FANTASY PREDICTION
Houston Rockets will start the game as favourites.