Tonight the Rick Adelman led Rockets burst their way into town. 3 key matchup’s, and I’ll leave you alone.
Aaron Brooks vs Beno Udrih
Whoever wins this matchup might win the game for either club. Brooks is currently responsible for a large percentage of Houston’s offense, and if WaBeno plays the same level of defense on Brooks that WaBeno deployed vs Westbrook (Westbrook also has had shooting struggles recently), that could change the nature of Houston’s offense.
Andres Nocioini vs Shane Battier.
This should be a fun matchup to watch period. Especially if you like gritty, off the ball tough guys going at it.
Trevor Ariza vs Tyreke Evans
Ariza is a quality player and Evans a quality player. The difference? Ariza was taken in the 2nd round by the Knicks in 2003, eventually traded to the Magic in 2006, and was traded to the Lakers in 2008. Tyreke Evans path to potential stardom will go far easier than Ariza’s. He was taken 4th overall in last June’s draft, and the Kings believe he is a franchise player.
I think the benefit of this matchup for the Rockets is that they can switch Battier and Ariza anytime a Pick & Roll between Evans & Nocioni happens. That’s a major advantage for the Rockets, and how Evans recognizes it will be the difference between being successful & not tonight. The Rockets are well coached, understand their game plan, they play as a 5 man unit, and they’re mentally tough.
So with that said, I think the adjustment that the Kings will have to make is using Spencer Hawes and Tyreke Evans on pick & pops and/or pick & rolls. Spencer will have hit to his outside shot tonight, and Jason Thompson MUST make his layup’s.
The Kings will have to rebound well, and because the pace is about even for both teams (Houston is 11th, Sacramento 12th), the Kings will have to make a large percentage of their open shots to win. Additionally, moving the ball will be critical, and rebounding from a poor practice yesterday as well may have to be in the cards for this young team. (If this were a veteran team, I wouldn’t be nearly as worried.) Houston offers all kind of matchup problems offensively and defensively, and it should be fun to see the type of matchup’s Paul Westphal and Rick Adelman attempt to will their teams to victory.
It’s a tough game, apparently people are going to be in the building tonight, and it should be loud. The Kings haven’t been .500 for a very long time, and winning tonight could go a long way to convincing people that this team is worth watching out at Arco. I look forward to seeing it all transpire.
Tip is now on CSN and 1140. Enjoy.