Get ready for Linsanity and Fear the Beard, both right down I-45 at the Toyota Center.
The Dallas Mavericks visit division rival Houston Rockets for the first time this season and the Rockets have revamped, bringing in point guard Jeremy Lin during the offseason and trading for former Sixth Man of the Year James Harden shortly after the season started.
With a 9-9 record, the Rockets are playing at a level very similar to the Mavericks. Coach Kevin McHale is back with the team after a short absence due to the death of his daughter.
James Harden has been elevated to a starter and is not surprisingly leading the team in scoring at nearly 24 ppg. Center Omar Asik is averaging 10 points and nearly 12 rebounds to anchor the middle. Asik is also tied with O. J. Mayo for most improvement in ppg.
Jeremy Lin has been something of a disappointment considering his hefty contract, averaging only 10 ppg and about 6 assists.
The Rockets just lost to the San Antonio Spurs not surprisingly but have won five of their last seven. They score well but allow a lot of points as well. With Shawn Marion out and Chris Kaman a game-time decision, the Mavs will be shorthanded and will need for someone else to step up and try to play tough defense on Harden. It might be another night for Dahntay Jones even though he has struggled terribly on offense.
The Rockets do rebound well and the Mavericks don’t so the Mavs aren’t likely to win the battle of the boards. The Mavs are a much better three-point shooting team so hopefully, with a little defense even sans Marion, the Mavs can prevail. The Rockets have won five in a row at home so they have the advantage and the Mavs will have to play even better than they did in Phoenix.