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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

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
WAS 4
CAR 2
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DET
Final
TAM 8
BOS 11
Final
STL 2
MIA 3
Final
WAS 0
NYM 2
Final
MIN 3
NYY 1
Final
DET 3
PIT 7
Final
BAL 3
TAM 4
Final
TOR 10
PHI 6
Final
TEX 10
CHC 15
Final
LOS 1
CWS 2
Final
MIL 4
CIN 10
Final
SFG 4
COL 3
Final
CLE 8
SEA 6
Final
ANA 10
OAK 13
Final
ARI 8
TEX 7
Final
ATL 5
HOU 8
Final
SDP 1
KAN 4
1:05pm Today
PHI
ATL
 
1:05pm Today
MIN
BOS
 
1:05pm Today
HOU
DET
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
TAM
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
TOR
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
STL
 
3:05pm Today
OAK
ANA
 
3:05pm Today
KAN
LOS
 
4:05pm Today
CIN
ARI
 
4:05pm Today
SEA
CWS
 
4:05pm Today
SFG
CLE
 
4:05pm Today
CHC
MIL
 
4:05pm Today
CWS
SDP
 
4:10pm Today
COL
TEX
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
PIT
 
Final
DET 105
ATL 95
Final
BRK 111
IND 106
Final
MIA 81
SAN 95
Final
LAC 106
GSW 110
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DET
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
PHI
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
SAN
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
BRK
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
IND
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DAL
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
SAC
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
DEN
10:00pm Tonight
POR
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
NOP
Final
TEMPL 57
MIAMI 60
Final
EVAN 79
TENNM 66
Final
NARZ 68
YALE 61
Final
ODU 60
STAN 67
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
LOYC
Final
WAS 4
CAR 2
Final
BOS 3
FLA 2
Final
CLB 3
NJD 2
Final
DET 1
OTT 2
Final
TOR 3
TAM 1
Final
WIN 2
NYR 3
Final
NAS 4
VAN 5
7:30pm Tonight
BUF
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
PIT
PHI
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
COL