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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

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Tonight at 8:00 on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 56
TEMPL 70
Final
NCCU 69
NCAT 58
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
MIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
TOR
 
Final
DET 4
ATL 6
 
Final
TAM 2
BAL 3
 
Final
PIT 1
NYY 2
 
Final
HOU 6
PHI 3
 
Final
MIA 1
STL 4
 
Final
SFG 8
CHC 6
 
Final
CIN 3
CLE 9
 
Final
CWS 1
LOS 6
 
Final
ANA 3
MIL 2
 
Final
CHC 2
OAK 2
 
Final
SEA 9
SDP 4
 
Final
KAN 5
TEX 4
 
Final
ARI 4
COL 3
 
Final
WAS 5
NYM 4
 
Final
MIN 9
BOS 8
 
Final
BAL 5
TOR 0
 
1:05pm Today
STL
HOU
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
MIA
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
MIN
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
ATL
WAS
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
BAL
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
DET
 
3:05pm Today
SDP
CWS
 
3:05pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
3:05pm Today
CLE
KAN
 
3:05pm Today
MIL
LOS
 
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TEX
SFG
 
3:05pm Today
LOS
SEA
 
3:10pm Today
ANA
COL
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
OAK
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
PIT
 
Final
CHI 108
OKC 105
Final
POR 94
DAL 75
7:00pm Tonight
IND
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIA
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
SAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
TOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
UTA
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
CLE
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
BOS
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
DET
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
LAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
BRK
PHO
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
DEN
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
DAL
 
Final
MDES 89
MRGST 76
 
Final
SIENA 71
NIAG 54
Final
LEH 62
AMER 68
 
Final
SCAR 74
ARK 78
Final
LAF 89
BU 64
 
Final
PETE 63
FAIR 33
Final
BUCK 90
HC 83
 
Final
UNF 71
LIP 57
 
Final
TENNM 65
MORE 76
Final
COL 72
NAVY 62
 
Final
ECU 56
TEMPL 70
Final
FATL 62
UAB 59
Final
FLGC 62
USCU 63
 
Final
CHAR 84
WKENT 88
Final
MINN 63
WISC 76
Final
MIZST 48
SILL 55
Final
COPST 92
DELST 104
 
Final
FIU 59
MTST 54
Final
HAMP 69
NORST 80
 
Final
NCCU 69
NCAT 58
 
Final
COOK 72
SCST 62
 
Final
APP 67
TXST 64
 
Final
GSOUT 76
TXARL 64
 
Final
LAMON 50
UGST 58
 
Final
ODU 67
MARS 50
Final
TXSA 74
RICE 76
Final
FAM 64
SAV 57
 
Final
LATU 72
SMISS 61
Final
JST 72
ALAAM 54
 
Final
GRAM 46
ALAST 78
 
Final
TXSOU 94
ALCOR 73
 
Final
NICST 77
CARK 70
 
Final
TAMCC 85
HOUB 72
 
Final
NARZ 58
PORST 51
 
Final
LAM 61
SHSU 67
 
Final
ARKST 76
SALA 81
 
Final
PVU 73
SOUTH 77
 
Final
LALAF 75
ARKLR 69
 
Final
NO 85
SELA 79
 
Final
INCWORD 64
ABCHRIST 52
 
9:00pm Thursday
MVSU 0
ARKPB 0
 
Final
ARZ 99
CAL 60
Final
WASH 47
COL 64
Final
WEBER 74
IDAHO 63
 
Final
UCONN 53
MEM 54
Final
UTEP 83
UNT 60
Final
STEPH 92
NWST 66
 
Final
SUTAH 69
SACST 65
 
Final
DAVID 82
VCU 55
Final
IDST 81
EWASH 85
 
Final
QUIN 74
MAR 80
Final
BEL 97
EILL 64
Final
DRAK 50
BRAD 52
Final
LBSU 69
CSNO 58
 
Final
UCI 68
CSFU 62
 
Final
UCD 61
UCR 59
 
Final
ARST 67
STAN 62
Final
WASU 59
UTAH 67
12:00pm Today
MVSU
ARKPB
 
12:00pm Today
CSOU
LONG
 
1:05pm Today
WICHS
SILL
 
2:00pm Today
RAD
WINT
 
3:35pm Today
ILLST
EVAN
 
6:00pm Tonight
HIGH
GWEBB
 
6:00pm Tonight
UNCG
SAMF
 
6:00pm Tonight
ELON
TOWS
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
AKR
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
BGU
 
7:00pm Tonight
DART
BRO
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMICH
CMICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
CLMB
 
7:00pm Tonight
PRIN
CORN
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
ILLCH
 
7:00pm Tonight
OHIO
UMO
 
7:00pm Tonight
BST
NILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
EMICH
TOL
 
7:05pm Tonight
NIOWA
BRAD
 
7:30pm Tonight
MURST
MORE
 
8:00pm Tonight
CCAR
UNCA
 
8:00pm Tonight
HARV
YALE
 
8:30pm Tonight
DREX
COC
 
8:30pm Tonight
CITA
FUR
 
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USF
PAC
 
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BAY
TTU
 
9:30pm Tonight
EKENT
BEL
 
9:30pm Tonight
CLST
DET
 
9:35pm Tonight
INDST
LOYC
 
11:30pm Tonight
SCU
LMU
 
Final
BOS 3
CAL 4
Final
WAS 1
MIN 2
Final
PHI 3
STL 1
Final
FLA 3
DAL 4
Final
TAM 4
TOR 2
Final
NAS 3
NYI 4
Final
ARI 3
VAN 2
Final
LOS 4
MON 3
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
BUF
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
CAL
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
EDM
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
PIT