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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

  • CBB: Duke at St. John's

    Tomorrow at 1:30 pm on FOX50

  • NBA: Miami at Chicago

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State vs. Notre Dame

    Tomorrow at 6:30 pm on WRAL-FM

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Final
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Final
UNC 78
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Final
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COPST 77
 
Final
CHA 76
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Final
CHA 76
NYK 71
Final
MIL 101
DET 86
Final
MEM 101
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4th
UTA 94
BRK 67
 
2nd
POR 45
WAS 55
 
Final
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Final
DREX 53
COC 51
 
Final
XAV 89
DEP 76
Final
PURD 67
IOWA 63
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Final
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OKST 53
Final
PSU 79
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Final
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Final
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HC 76
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Final
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Final
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Final
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USCU 91
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Final
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Final
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BRY 66
SHU 83
 
Final
EVAN 75
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OREG 82
UCLA 64
Final
EILL 52
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Final
NCCU 79
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Final
CMICH 65
EMICH 51
 
Final
RAD 84
LIB 76
 
Final
FD 76
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Final
MNTST 64
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LIP 66
UNF 75
 
Final
EWASH 102
NDAK 80
 
Final
TROY 55
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TXST 58
APP 64
 
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CSOU 93
GWEBB 80
 
Final
LAMON 53
GSOUT 57
 
Final
ABCHRIST 61
INCWORD 77
 
Final
JVST 63
MORE 66
 
Final
CARK 61
NICST 71
 
Final
UAB 81
ODU 68
Final
SHSU 68
STEPH 79
 
Final
ALAST 84
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Final
MTST 72
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Final
NCAT 52
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Final
MISS 72
UF 71
Final
SMU 80
HOU 59
Final
FAM 50
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GRAM 63
JST 74
 
Final
VANDY 75
LSU 79
Final
SCST 63
NORST 76
 
Final
BAY 69
OKLA 58
Final
MVSU 65
PVU 72
 
Final
ARKLR 68
TXARL 75
 
Final
CHAT 81
UNCG 72
 
Final
ORST 59
USC 55
Final
SAV 68
HAMP 66
 
Final
TOL 71
BGU 67
 
Final
UCSB 68
CSFU 49
 
Final
RIDE 59
CAN 46
 
Final
CLMB 47
CORN 57
 
Final
GMAS 73
DAVID 80
Final
ELON 94
DEL 82
 
Final
WOFF 72
ETST 64
 
Final
YOUNG 77
ILLCH 64
 
Final
FRES 66
NEV 62
Final
MAST 77
NDST 71
 
Final
STJOE 52
PENN 56
Final
DAY 63
RICH 60
Final
TENNM 70
SEMIZ 53
 
Final
HIGH 72
UNCA 51
 
Final
CCST 53
WAGN 50
 
Final
SAMF 78
WCU 72
 
Final
MICH 64
WISC 69
Final
UMKC 75
SEAT 55
 
Final
NO 67
TAMCC 71
 
Final
ALAAM 58
SOUTH 65
 
Final
TXPA 73
GRCN 72
 
Final
HOUB 79
LAM 77
 
Final
RICE 45
LATU 58
Final
TULA 55
MEM 57
 
Final
BRAD 61
MIZST 59
 
Final
SIUE 54
MURST 60
 
Final
GONZ 91
PAC 60
Final
UNT 71
SMISS 75
 
Final
ORU 72
SDKST 76
 
Final
UNCW 69
TOWS 65
 
Final
UNLV 79
UTST 77
 
Final
COL 90
WASU 58
Final
ALA 57
AUB 55
 
Final
ARKPB 66
TXSOU 62
 
Final
WEBER 71
SACST 78
 
Final
MONT 58
SUTAH 56
 
Final
NMST 69
WLVRN 44
 
2nd
IDST 76
PORST 72
 
2nd
TENT 67
EKENT 64
 
Half
CSNO 18
LBSU 28
 
Half
USF 43
LMU 30
 
Half
IDAHO 47
NCOL 32
 
Half
COLST 40
SDST 32
 
Half
PORT 31
GAELS 30
 
Half
CPSL 24
UCR 24
 
1st
CAL 6
ARZ 11
 
11:00pm Tonight
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