Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks will face off on the second day of the 2019-20 NBA season restart, as they look to improve their playoff seedings in the Western Conference.

Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets were not as successful as many expected and delivered underwhelming results compared to last season. The addition of Russell Westbrook is excellent for the team, but his reunion with James Harden has not been all smiles and positivity. They were struggling to win at the beginning of the season.

The players eventually gained chemistry and played well together. After trading Clint Capela and receiving Robert Covington, the Rockets benefited from more speed and offense. However, due to lack of height, the team suffers from rebounds and defense.

The Rockets are going to have their former MVPs ready to play after being cleared from the coronavirus. Russell Westbrook and James Harden have already played in scrimmages, losing the first one to Toronto Raptors and winning the next one against Memphis Grizzlies. They struggled right before the season got interrupted, losing four of their last five games.

After the long hiatus, coach Mike D’Antoni is confident that the team is ready to play.

As of now, the Rockets are the sixth seed in the Western Conference with 40-24 record and have clinched a playoff position. They look to improve their seeding and face an easier opponent to take a step closer to an NBA championship.

Dallas Mavericks

The initial goal for Dallas Mavericks was to make the playoffs this season, and they are most likely going to achieve this accomplishment. The Mavericks acquired Kristaps Porzingis and has been playing great beside Luka Doncic. The duo improved the Maverick’s offense as they are third in the NBA with 116.4 points per game and fifth with 54.8 effective field goal percentage.

The Mavericks have also won 40 games this season but are the seventh seed and need to win to clinch a playoff spot. They have already played two scrimmages, winning the first one against the Los Angeles Lakers and losing the next one to Indiana Pacers.

Luka Doncic

The 21-year-old guard looks great despite months of no action, and analysts are impressed with that they have seen so far. Coach Rick Carlisle showed confidence in him and praised his leadership on the floor and overall growth as a player.

Carlisle expects Doncic to do a little bit of everything: attacking the rim, guarding good players, creating plays for his teammates, shooting 3-pointers, and drawing plays. Only in his second year, Doncic proved as one of the most dominant players in the NBA today.

Head-to-Head

The last time the two teams faced each other, the Rockets defeated the Doncic-less Mavericks at home in January, 128-121. Harden and Westbrook carried the team, who scored 35 and 32 points respectively.

They had a small lineup, so the Rockets relied on their outside shooting and made 21 3-pointers throughout the game. The Rockets, who are averaging 118.1 points per game, are 7-3 in their last ten game against the Mavericks.

Predictions

The Mavericks will win the match against the Rockets on Friday. Although Houston won their previous meetings, the Mavericks did not have Doncic due to an injury, and he is not fully healthy and recovered.

Porzingis will be a matchup problem for the undersized Rockets. He will out-rebound the Rockets and put up huge numbers like he previously did, scoring 35 points and grabbing 12 boards.

Earlier in the season, last November, Doncic played Houston and exploded for 41 points with five 3-pointers and ten assists in a 137-123 win. A healthier Mavericks squad will beat the Houston Rockets in their first game of the NBA restart.