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The Houston Rockets play host to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday evening from the Toyota Center. This is a tale of two teams who have their seasons going in opposite directions, as the Rockets find themselves simply playing for pride, while the Pelicans are fighting for their playoff lives. With that said, the Rockets have been able to win three in a row, while New Orleans is the team limping into this one, as losers of back-to-back games. This will mark the fourth meeting of the season between these two teams and while New Orleans won the first two meetings, Houston won just on Friday night, so it'll be interesting to see how both teams bounce back.
The Pelicans were one of the NBA's best teams in the first half of the season, even finding themselves near the top of the Western Conference at one point. Of late, this team has struggled for a number of reasons but anyway fans look at it, the playoffs now appear to be something they'll need to fight for. They've lost two in a row coming into this one and only have three wins in their last ten games. It won't help matters that they just lost in Houston on Friday night and having to spend a few extra days on the road as they await the rematch isn't going to be good for this group. On the road, they have an 11-24 record this season, which isn't going to get it done as the season draws to a close. Luckily, they return home after this one but will need a win on Sunday to get things trending back in the right direction.
Injuries haven't been the kindest to this group this season, so it shouldn& #39;t come as a surprise to see their struggles of late. Zion Williamson (hamstring) remains the most notable player injured, as he remains out through the end of the month. Additionally, Jose Alvarado (shin) joins him, as a key defensive piece that they continue to navigate life without.
Injury report for Sunday's game at Rockets #Pelicans | @MorrisBartLLC https://t.co/RGAwrt3eAE
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 18, 2023
On the offensive end, New Orleans sits middle of the road and will be looking for some help in this one. The good news is that Houston has been far from the elite on the defensive end and even with the injuries, the Pelicans should be able to find some scoring. CJ McCollum (21 ppg) has led the way of eligible scoring leaders, though having Brandon Ingram (23.2 ppg) back in the fold is crucial toward their success going forward. The more pressing concern is the defensive end and finding a way to not be exposed as much as they were on Friday night. They rank first in the league in three-point defense and will need to hit the glass hard as well. Squaring off against a surprisingly strong offensive-rebounding team, the Pelicans need to find a way to limit their second-chance opportunities.
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