Dwight Howard to make season debut against the reigning NBA champions

Dwight Howard Houston Rockets-Woodlands Monocle

Dwight Howard is set make his season debut against the reigning NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors.

The Houston Rockets take on the Golden State Warriors on Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 at the Toyota Center. The game will be a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals.

The Rockets and Warriors are both expected to be championship contenders in the deep Western Conference this season. Last year, Steph Curry and James Harden were both in the running for NBA MVP, with Curry taking home the trophy. Expect this matchup between the conference rivals to be an entertaining one on Friday night.

Houston played the Denver Nuggets Wednesday evening in their season opener. The Nuggets showed that they have improved significantly from last year as they came out victorious 105-85.

Rockets shooting guard, Harden,  put up a respectable stat line of 22 points, six rebounds, six assists and also two steals and blocks. Still, the surprising season opening loss can be attributed to the Rockets poor shooting percentage compared to the Nuggets. Denver shot 50.6 percent from the field and 48.1 percent from 3-point.

The Rockets, on the other hand, shot 34.5 percent from the field and 22.9 percent from 3-point. That is over a 15 percent difference in shot percentage. It is hard to win when the other team is making more shots and that is what happened on Wednesday.

The Nuggets were led by forward Danilo Gallinari with 23 points, forward Kenneth Faried with 18 points and rookie guard Emmanuel Mudiay with 17 points and nine assists.

Harden’s production was complemented by forward Terrence Jones, chipping in 15 points and newcomer Ty Lawson adding 12 points. The Rockets effort was just not enough against a young Denver Nuggets team that seemed to be playing in mid-season form in only the first game of the season.

Dwight Howard’s return should prove to be a significant defensive improvement against the Golden State Warriors. Howard, missed the first game after serving a one-game suspension due to his conduct in last season’s playoffs. Last season, Howard averaged 15.8 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game. His presence in the post on offense and defense is one that very few can replicate.

The Warriors, are coming off a 111-95 win on Tuesday to the New Orleans Pelicans. Warriors point guard, Curry, put on a shooting clinic scoring 40 points total, 24 of which came in the first quarter alone. The Warriors were able to limit the Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis to just 18 points on 4 of 20 shooting.

In order to get their first win of the season, the Rockets will have to execute in a few different ways that they failed to in their blowout loss to the Nuggets.

First, they need to win the frontcourt matchups. Warriors center Andrew Bogut is coming of a 12-point game where he went 6 for 6 from the field along with five rebounds. Warrior’s back-up center, Festus Ezeli, also had 13 points. The Rockets frontcourt of Jones, who will look to build off his 15-point performance last game. Howard, Clint Capela and rookie Montrezl Harrell will need to play strong inside and win the post for the Rockets to contend tonight.

In the backcourt, it will be another entertaining rematch of Harden versus Curry. Curry is clearly still playing at MVP level, however, his splash brother Klay Thompson only contributed nine points.

If Rockets guard Ty Lawson can improve off his 3-10 shooting performance for 12 points and can limit  Thompson and Draymond Green’s offensive contributions, expect the Rockets to come away with their first win.

 

Game Notes:

Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors, 8:30 pm TV: ROOT/ESPN

Date: Friday October 30, 2015

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