This late afternoon edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s foes, the new look and suddenly hot (won 6 of last 7) Houston Rockets.
The breakdown for tonight’s match-up with the Rockets is pretty simple in our eyes. If the Sixers come out and play like they did on the road vs. the Chicago Bulls on Monday — quick and energized start, tough defense throughout and efficient on offense – they win this game. For the Rockets tonight will be game 3 of a three game road trip and the second game in a back-to-back set. Additionally, the Rockets have a home game looming on Friday vs. in state rival San Antonio. In NBA speak what all of that means is Houston should mentally already be packed up and ready to head back to Texas. So a fast start by the 7-6 tonight should suck the life out of the Rockets early and thus they should go down without a fight.
If however, the Sixers come out tonight and play like they did at home against Sacto on Sunday — lackadaisical start, ole’ defense and silly turnovers on offense — this Rockets team is athletic enough and skilled enough to do more then hang around all night. Houston is much more talented and better coached then the Kings, so if the Sixers play like they did on Sunday, the Rockets will steal an easy win down at the WFC.
Here’s two things to be on the look out for tonight. The first is based on the fact that Houston sits two games back of the 8thand final playoff spot in the West. They are a young, talented and winning team (39-35), but maybe more importantly a desperate squad for which every night is a playoff game. That’s not a good combination for opponents and the Sixers can not even remotely consider taking this game lightly.
The second item is Kyle Lowry. The former Cardinal Dougherty product who starred as Villanova’s point guard is on fire of late — 20 & 8 per night in March and a double-double (16 & 10) last night vs. NJN. Lowry will be playing in front of all his friends and family as well as his former college coach Jay Wright tonight, so there’s no doubt he’ll be looking to put on a show. He’s certainly has enough skill and right now Lowry is hot enough and confident enough that if he gets going, Lowry could carry the Rockets to a W over the Sixers. Just to be safe, we suggest that Jrue Holiday keep him under wraps all night.
For a little more insight into the Rockets team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Eric Todd from red94.net to answer two questions on the Rockets from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this HOU squad from an insider’s perspective.