The Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets are scheduled to meet at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night in Brooklyn. The Rockets are going through an ugly season and it could get even uglier tonight. This is a rebuilding phase for the Rockets. They tossed in the towel and finally bent to James Harden earlier in the season. That trade represented the end of an era, and a new rebuilding era in Houston. The Rockets traded for Kelly Olynyk with the Miami Heat at the trade deadline. Victor Oladipo was sent to Miami in the deal.
He’s not a long-term solution at all, and the idea was to bring him in for a veteran presence on the roster to teach the younger players. Olynyk is coming off a big performance for the Rockets in a losing effort on Monday. He poured in 25 points and 9 rebounds in the 120-110 loss against the Memphis Grizzlies. Jae’Sean Tate also had a big night, with 24 points and 7 rebounds. Olynyk and Tate might need to play an even bigger role tonight.
John Wall is questionable to play against the Nets on Wednesday. Wall is dealing with excess fluid in or around his knee with a left knee effusion. If Wall cannot suit up, it would be the first time that the Rockets will be absent Wall and Oladipo at the same time. Oladipo is in Miami with the Heat, so guard depth could be a problem if Wall is unavailable. Kevin Porter Jr. would take on more of a role in the offense, but it would be tough to keep pace with Harden and Kyrie Irving.
The Rockets’ only wins since February 6 has been against the Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Raptors are completely out of sync, while the Timberwolves are sitting near the bottom of the league with the Rockets. Through this stretch, the Rockets have gone an abysmal 2-23. Overall, the Rockets are 13-33 on the season, and already counting down the days until the season finale. They face a tough challenge against a 32-15 Nets squad.
The Timberwolves nearly stole a win in Irving’s return to the starting lineup on Monday. After taking a comfortable lead at the half by 9 points, the Timberwolves were able to pull close in the second. The Nets are fortunate to get away with a 112-107 win in that game, as they needed to fight late in the fourth to hold off the Timberwolves. We’ll see if they learned something from that effort. Head below for our free Rockets vs. Nets pick on March 31, 2021.
Houston Rockets vs. Brooklyn Nets NBA Betting Odds:
Rockets vs. Nets Prediction:
The Rockets are not intending on winning many games the rest of the season. For a team with 23 losses in their previous 25 outings, you can’t expect a whole lot from them. John Wall has looked disinterested this season, but his absence certainly wouldn’t help matters against the Nets tonight. Wall has scored 20.2 points and 6.8 assists per game. He’s doing what he can on a bad team, but certainly has the look of a guy that wishes he was elsewhere.
If Wall can’t play, and even to an extent if he can, the Rockets are going to get destroyed by Harden and Irving. They should be able to do whatever they want to do offensively versus the Rockets. The Nets lead the league with 119.1 points per game and 49.5% from the field. If the Nets want to make this game ugly for the Rockets, they probably can at any point. The Rockets are 29th in the NBA with a field goal percentage of 43.6% and an abysmal 33% from three-point land.
It’s going to be tough for the Rockets to play catch up in this game, especially without Wall, if the Nets pull ahead early. It’s likely that scenario plays out at the Barclays Center. The Nets have a beatable defense, though we’ve seen some improvement from them over the last few weeks. Through their previous five outings, the Nets have allowed 110.8 points per game. In any event, the Rockets don’t have the talent to take advantage of the Nets’ defense.
The Nets recorded a 132-114 win against the Rockets in Houston on March 3. Durant was absent, while Wall and Oladipo carried the load for the Rockets with a combined 69 points. Tate was the best contributor with 12 points. Oladipo is gone and Wall is questionable, so somebody will have to step up. I don’t see it happening. After nearly blowing a big lead against the Timberwolves, expect the Nets to put away the Rockets and keep them there. I like the Nets in a 125-107 game.