Even though it’s the preseason, some opponents feel like they can be a nice measuring stick. The Houston Rockets face the San Antonio Spurs Thursday night and the Spurs would normally be a great measuring stick. Of course measuring things against Tim Duncan might have value. But that means Tim Duncan has to play, which does not seem likely.
“That part doesn’t matter for us. It’s what we do,” Rockets forward-center Dwight Howard said.
When they tipoff at 7 p.m. in San Antonio tonight, Howard is expected to start at power forward again with Omer Asik starting at center, just as the duo did in their 105-100 win over Dallas on Monday night.
“If those guys don’t play we still have to go out there and do what we do,” Howard said. “It’ll be good for us just to get those reps together, play with each other. It’s a little bit different for us, but I think we’re going to make it work.”
While some teams are giving nights off for their regulars during the preseason, that’s not really something the Rockets have done with Howard and he understands why he has played in all the games.
“I understand since I’m new to this team, he (Coach McHale) really wants me and the guys to get acclimated as soon as possible,” he said. “But also, for me, to get into really good shape for the start of the season.”
Howard had back surgery prior to last season, but returned to the court very quickly and only missed six games last season, his only season with the Los Angeles. He’s maintained throughout his brief time here in Houston that this is the best he’s felt in several years.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty good test for us,” Howard said.” They’re really on a mission to get back to the finals and it’ll be a great test for us.
“We understand that we have to knock those guys down in order to be western conference champs.”
While the result from Thursday’s game likely has zero impact on how the regular season, note that the Spurs have won the western conference now five times. They failed in each of the four previous opportunities to defend their conference title.