banner

NBA

more stats

NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, October 30th (All times Eastern)

Charlotte Bobcats (0-0) at Houston Rockets (0-0), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dwight Howard era in Houston opens Wednesday night, when the Rockets entertain the Charlotte Bobcats at the Toyota Center.

Howard was the biggest prize on the free agent market and the Rockets were fortunate enough to acquire his services. The seven-time All-Star and three- time Defensive Player of the Year opted to take his talents to Space City instead of Los Angeles (Lakers) and Golden State.

"This is very special. Words really can't explain how I feel about being here," Howard said. "It is a fresh start, a clean slate. I am looking forward to doing it in Houston with these beautiful fans behind me. I think it is going to be great. I am looking forward to embracing this city and giving them everything I got."

Howard's one season with the Lakers was not glamorous. The Lakers played well below expectations, squeaked into the playoffs and disbanded, due in large part to Howard's departure.

Through the disappointment of the 2012-13 campaign, Howard's numbers dipped, but were still extraordinary. He averaged 17.1 ppg (down almost 3.0 ppg from the previous season), but led the NBA in rebounding with 12.4 per game and finished fifth in the league in blocked shots at 2.45 a contest.

Howard will team up with fellow star James Harden, whose bruised knee shouldn't prevent him from playing Wednesday. Houston made the postseason with relative ease thanks to Harden and even took a few games from the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Rockets were the NBA's second-highest scoring team and one of the most storied 3-point shooting teams in history. Defensively, Houston finished 28th in a 30-team league in opponents' scoring under head coach Kevin McHale, who was a defensive stalwart in his playing days.

McHale already made one tough decision. He announced that Patrick Beverley will start at point guard over Jeremy Lin.

Overall, the Rockets should finish in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference and could even host a playoff series.

Charlotte is not expected to do much this season and that's par for the course with this franchise. The Bobcats went 21-61 last season and two seasons ago had the worst winning percentage in league history. If not for a labor- shortened season, Charlotte could have enjoyed the worst record ever.

The Bobcats suffered through an 18-game losing streak that spanned into a 1-15 December. They made an effort to improve by signing big man Al Jefferson to a three-year deal and he'll contribute immediately. Jefferson has averaged 18.9 ppg and 10.1 rpg over the last seven seasons, all the while staying relatively healthy.

"The Charlotte Bobcats did a great job coming at me (in free agency) and made me feel like they were a team that really respected my game and made me feel like a part of the family," Jefferson said.

He injured his ankle at the end of training camp and his availability for Wednesday night is in question.

Charlotte has a new man in charge in head coach Steve Clifford, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff. He will be the sixth different Bobcats coach in the last 10 years.

"I think the culture starts around the head coach and the team leaders," Clifford said at his introductory press conference. "They're going to set the tone every day in practice and set the tone for the intensity every night you play."

Jefferson, Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gerald Henderson, Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions hope to make Clifford's first season a smooth one.

The Bobcats lost both meetings with the Rockets last season and are winless in the last five games in this series. Charlotte has lost eight in a row in Space City.

10/30 10:12:55 ET

Other Stories

  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Saturday at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Saturday at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • WBB: Duke vs. UMass Lowell

    Tomorrow at 6:30 pm on 620am

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Saturday at 4:25 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
2nd
CAR 2
TOR 0
 
1st
DUKE 20
UCONN 15
 
1st
CHI 21
NYK 17
 
8:30pm Tonight
HOU
NOP
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
MIL
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
OKC
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
2nd
UVA 61
CLST 44
 
2nd
LIU 62
FIU 53
 
2nd
STET 61
GSOUT 63
 
2nd
QUIN 72
LEH 52
 
2nd
SFLA 51
SHU 68
 
2nd
RICH 48
SALA 46
 
2nd
CAN 41
USB 36
 
2nd
DEL 55
TEMPL 70
 
2nd
WCU 49
WRST 52
 
2nd
VERM 47
YALE 50
 
2nd
SDKST 34
IDST 32
 
Half
RIDE 29
MRGST 27
 
2nd
LATU 42
NICST 28
 
1st
CHAR 23
APP 25
 
1st
MISS 19
CCAR 35
 
1st
DUKE 20
UCONN 15
 
1st
BRAD 29
EUREK 14
 
1st
PEAY 28
OAKC 12
 
1st
JST 20
SMISS 6
 
8:30pm Tonight
SD
MNTST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UAB
LSU
9:05pm Tonight
EVAN
OHIO
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSFU
CSDH
 
10:00pm Tonight
ORST
DEP
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
NEV
10:00pm Tonight
USF
PORST
 
10:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
WALLA
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
CALST
 
2nd Intermission
PIT 0
COL 0
 
2nd
PHI 1
FLA 1
 
2nd
CAR 2
TOR 0
 
2nd
CLB 2
WAS 2
 
1st
MON 0
ANA 1
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
STL
1st
JAC 0
TEN 7