The Houston Rockets ended 2019 with a dominant win over the Denver Nuggets. 2020 starts with a big test on January 3rd vs the Philadephia 76ers. Since most fans believe the season doesn’t start until after Christmas its time to look at the Rockets schedule for this month. The Rockets have a busy month with 14 games in the month of January with several marquee matchups.
January 3rd Houston Rockets vs the Philadephia 76ers
Boasting one of the league best defenses the 76ers come into this game 23-13 and losers or three straight games. Even with the recent loses ( one with Joel Embid) the 76ers pose a particularly hard test for the Houston Rockets. A starting lineup of players all 6-ft-5 or taller will test the Rocket’s rebounding and ability to protect the rim.
There is no love lost between Embid and Russell Westbrook which should add to this contest.
The 76ers are top 10 in defensive rating and points allowed. That will test the Rockets who lead the league in points per game.
January 9th Rockets vs the Oklahoma City Thunder
This game isn’t necessarily a big game when it comes to the standings. This game is all about Westbrook return to Oklahoma City. This will be the first game back for the former MVP in Oklahoma City. Even though the Thunder aren’t fighting for home-court they have had a surprising year currently sitting seventh in the West. The Rockets defeated the Thunder earlier in the year but this Thunder team is playing at a much higher level than the first contest. This, of course, is also the second game for Chris Paul vs the team that traded him in the offseason for Westbrook.
January 18th Rockets vs the LA Lakers
Amazingly enough, this will be the first game of the year for the Rockets vs the LA Lakers. At the time of this writing, the Lakers are 27-7 and first in the Western Conference. The combination of Anthony Davis and Lebron James has gotten off to a great start. This game should go a long way to determine if the Rockets can catch the Lakers for the number one overall seed. The Rockets face the Lakers a total of three times this year and every game will be a huge test for both teams. The Rockets beat the Lakers 3-1 in last year’s series.
January 31st Houston Rockets vs the Dallas Mavericks
When two Texas teams meet no matter the records its a huge game for both teams. Even more this year with the resurgence of the Dallas Mavericks into the upper-tier teams. The Rockets will be looking to even up the season series after losing to the Mavericks earlier this year 137-123 in a game that wasn’t indicative of the final score. The Rockets trailed big for most of the game before making a late run that came up short. With MVP candidate Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks are back to being a true rival. The Mavericks currently sit at 21-12 and fifth in the Western Conference.
A big month is ahead for the Rockets as they are finally fully healthy with the return of Eric Gordon. If the Rockets are going to make a run at the number one overall seed in the Western Conference they have to put together a few winning streaks and that starts with getting some big wins in the month of January.
I predict the Rockets will finish 11-3 for the month and start February at 34-14.
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