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Rockets’ Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley dealing with injuries

Mar 28, 2014, 9:21 AM EDT

Dwight Howard,  Pat Beverley

The Houston Rockets can win a championship this season.

I’ve written that about many Western Conference teams, but it seems true for so many. With the right breaks, the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, Warriors and maybe even Trail Blazers could win a title.

But losing Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley in the same game – that’s obviously not the break Houston needs. Is that what happened in Thursday’s win over the 76ers?

Howard, via Adam Wexler of CSN Houston:

“My ankle was bothering me tonight, I came out a little early in the third quarter because of it,” Howard said after the game. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. I don’t want to sit out, but the most important thing is that I’m ready for the playoffs.”

Wexler:

Starting point guard Pat Beverley was also injured in the game and his availability for Saturday’s game against the Clippers is uncertain. With just 28 seconds gone in the second quarter, Houston was forced to call timeout because Beverley was hurt. He walking gingerly to the Rockets bench momentarily before heading to the team’s locker room before play resumed. He did not return to the game. Houston called it a right knee sprain and Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said he would get an MRI on it Friday.

“It kind of one of those ones where he tweaked it and didn’t quite know exactly what happened,” McHale said. “Don’t know (if it’s serious), he’ll have an MRI tomorrow.”

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The Rockets can get along without Beverley. As far as backup point guards go, Jeremy Lin is definitely capable of starting. Losing Beverley would have gone better last month – before Houston traded Aaron Brooks, who could have stepped into the rotation – but the Rockets are still relatively well-equipped to handle it.

Losing Howard would prove much more costly. The Rockets have been worse on both sides of the court when he sits this season, as you’d expect from an All-NBA-caliber player. On the bright side, his decision to leave the game sounds much more precautionary.

Can the Rockets win a championship this season? A lot hinges on Beverley’s MRI and whether Howard’s issue is as minor as it sounds.

  1. youretherocketman - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    I did not know Lowry’s MRI was so important to the Rockets. It would be weird for the Rockets’ championship hopes to hinge on a Raptors player.

  2. thekingdave - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Can we stop with the whole Rockets “can win a championship this year thing?” I’ve said since the start of the season I expected either a 4-5 seed and at least a first round win. Morey needs another offseason to fill out the roster.

    • jsala02 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      I think if they left the roster the same next year, the can win. One year of playing together, plus the growth of T Jones, D-Mo, and others, they will be a championship contender next year.

      • casualcommenter - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        I agree another year of chemistry-building and player development would help, but I still think the Rockets need a good wing defender. Harden’s willingness to compete on defense is inconsistent, to put it mildly. Parsons competes and sometimes looks pretty good, but he’s still not consistently good.

        Rockets need a Shane Battier-style swingman who can help with the better wing scorers. Opposing wings have no issues getting past the first line of defense, which leads to dribble penetration that compromises the whole defense.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      Nobody is saying the Rockets HAVE to win the championship this year to be a success. It’s not like they’re a team whose top players are all over 30 years old and whose window to compete is closing fast. Dwight is 28, Harden is 24, Parsons is 25, etc.

      However, there’s nothing wrong with wondering/hoping the Rockets win the championship this year. I definitely wouldn’t call them favorites, even as a fan, but it’s not crazy to speculate about them making a Finals run either.

      • kb2408 - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        D12 is 28 but his back might be 33.

    • au1978 - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      So just because you expect it, it’s true? I agree that another season and another upgrade or two would make them a virtual lock for winning it, but I fully believe they have as good a chance as any other top team to win it all this season.

    • kb2408 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      Thank you @kingdave! The Rockets can win a title IF KD gets injured and misses the playoffs, same thing with CP3 or Blake and if the Spurs franchise folds up shop!! The Rockets brand of basketball does not translate to playoffs basketball. They will be exposed for what they really are…a good, entertaining team that is not among the elite.

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