Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Houston Rockets 2012-13 Schedule: Monthly Breakdown and W-L Predictions - Bleacher Report

The Houston Rockets lost a lot of big pieces this summer and received very little in return. They added Jeremy Lin but lost Goran Dragic and Kyle Lowry.

Samuel Dalembert and Marcus Camby are no longer with the team, and gone also is Luis Scola, arguably the best player on the team.

The roster is young and full of potential, but the question is whether that translates to wins this season.

October/November List of Games

Chris Chambers/Getty Images

October 31: @ Detroit Pistons

November 2: @ Atlanta Hawks

November 3: vs. Portland Trail Blazers  

November 7: vs. Denver Nuggets  

November 9: @ Memphis Grizzlies  

November 10: vs. Detroit Pistons  

November 12: vs. Miami Heat  

November 14: vs. New Orleans Hornets  

November 16: @ Portland Trail Blazers  

November 18: @ Los Angeles Lakers

November 19: @ Utah Jazz  

November 21: vs. Chicago Bulls  

November 23: vs. New York Knicks  

November 27: vs. Toronto Raptors  

November 28: @ Oklahoma City Thunder  

Key Games and Prediction

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

November 14 vs. New Orleans Hornets

Former teammates Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis square off after winning the national title just this past year. This should add some drama to an otherwise unexciting showdown.

November 23 vs. New York Knicks

Jeremy Lin faces his former team in front of his new fans. The Knicks are a legitimate playoff team, while the Rockets are coming off a lottery year, which just adds to an already intriguing game for the fans.

Final Record: 5-10

Wins: Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Hornets, Jazz, Raptors

Losses: Pistons (2), Hawks, Grizzlies, Heat, Trail Blazers, Lakers, Bulls, Knicks, Thunder.

Interesting Storylines

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Best One-On-One Matchup

Jeremy Lin against Steve Nash. Why? Well, last season Lin went off for 38 against the Lakers, and this time he will have Nash guarding him. The fans in LA will be going wild, and Nash should also put Lin's defense to the test, making sure he won't be too energized on offense.

Best-Case Scenario for October/November

They upset some playoff teams. Whether it's LA, New York, OKC, or Memphis doesn't matter. If they can steal a few wins away, they will have a good start.

Worst-Case Scenario for October/November

They show their inexperience away from home. Playing away is always tougher than playing in front of a friendly crowd, and since the Rockets are such a young team, playing away won't be easy. Should they lose more than four games away, they are going to have a terrible month.

This is a very young and unproven team, and their first month will be rough but will be a strong indicator of how the rest of the year should go.

December List of Games

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December 1: vs. Utah Jazz  

December 4: vs. Los Angeles Lakers  

December 7: @ San Antonio Spurs  

December 8: vs. Dallas Mavericks  

December 10: vs. San Antonio Spurs  

December 12: vs. Washington Wizards  

December 14: vs. Boston Celtics  

December 16: @ Toronto Raptors

December 17: @ New York Knicks

December 19: vs. Philadelphia 7th6ers  

December 22: vs. Memphis Grizzlies  

December 25: @ Chicago Bulls

December 26: @ Minnesota Timberwolves  

December 28: @ San Antonio Spurs  

December 29: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder  

December 31: vs. Atlanta Hawks 

Key Games and Prediction

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

December 17 @ New York Knicks

Linsanity is returning to New York. There is a chance that the crowd will be largely pro Houston here just because of Jeremy Lin. The Rockets have a chance at the upset here if they can take advantage of the crowd.

December 25 @ Chicago Bulls

Christmas Day games are always a nice opportunity to get the team some attention. If the Rockets have a good showing, they could see better TV ratings, which only helps the team.

Final Record: 6-10

Wins: Jazz, Lakers, Wizards, Knicks, Grizzlies, Bulls.

Losses: Spurs (3), Mavericks, Celtics, Raptors, Sixers, Timberwolves, Thunder, Hawks.

Interesting Storylines

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Best One-On-One Matchup

Jeremy Lin and Jason Kidd. This is more for the drama than the actual skills. Kidd came to New York to mentor Lin, and now Lin is playing somewhere completely different. Look for Lin to have a big game against his former team in his former arena.

Best-Case Scenario for December

They can win the majority of their 10 home games. The Rockets should try to defend their arena just so the fans continue to show up and support them. If they start losing, fans will lose interest, and that makes the future home games tougher.

Worst-Case Scenario for December

They can't get an upset. There are a lot of powerhouse teams on the schedule in December, including three games against the Spurs. If Houston can't pull off some big wins, then this is going to be a very long month.

Not an easy month, and I guarantee you that no team wants to play the Spurs three times with two being away.

January List of Games

Chris Chambers/Getty Images

January 2: vs. New Orleans Hornets  

January 4: @ Milwaukee Bucks  

January 5: @ Cleveland Cavaliers

January 8: vs. Los Angeles Lakers  

January 9: @ New Orleans Hornets  

January 11: @ Boston Celtics

January 12: @ Philadelphia 7th6ers

January 15: vs. Los Angeles Clippers  

January 16: @ Dallas Mavericks  

January 18: @ Indiana Pacers  

January 19: @ Minnesota Timberwolves  

January 21: @ Charlotte Bobcats

January 23: vs. Denver Nuggets

January 25: @ New Orleans Hornets  

January 26: vs. Brooklyn Nets  

January 28: @ Utah Jazz  

January 30: @ Denver Nuggets  

Key Games and Prediction

January 8 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers come to Houston, and the Rockets will look for an upset. Lin will be presented as a Laker killer, and the expectation will be that they can get the surprise win.

January 21 @ Charlotte Bobcats

It's a division game, and it's against the Bobcats. This should be an easy win and should tell just how good (or how bad) this Houston team is.

Final Record: 8-9

Wins: Hornets (3), Bucks, Cavaliers, Sixers, Bobcats, Nets.

Losses: Lakers, Celtics, Clippers, Mavericks, Pacers, Timberwolves, Nuggets (2), Nets.

Interesting Storylines

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Best One-On-One Matchup

Kobe Bryant and Kevin Martin are two great scorers, and chances are whoever wins this matchup wins the game. Martin has had some health problems in his career and because of this has gone under many people's radar. He is a top scorer when healthy, and this should be a better matchup than most expect.

Best-Case Scenario for January

They get through their 12 games away. This month will be a won on the road, and if they drop most of their games away, they drop the month.

Worst-Case Scenario for January

Drop games against lottery teams. This month is not that tough when it comes to the level of the opponents. Bobcats, Cavs, Bucks and Hornets are teams that need to be beat.

This will be a better month, and I see the Rockets getting some nice wins and not dropping the easy games.

February List of Games

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

February 2: vs. Charlotte Bobcats

February 5: vs. Golden State Warriors

February 6: @ Miami Heat

February 8: vs. Portland Trail Blazers

February 10: @ Sacramento Kings  

February 12: @ Golden State Warriors  

February 13: @ Los Angeles Clippers

February 20: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder  

February 22: @ Brooklyn Nets

February 23: @ Washington Wizards  

February 27: vs. Milwaukee Bucks  

Key Games and Prediction

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

February 6 @ Miami Heat

February is an important month for contenders, and Miami should be around the first seed at this point. One thing Miami does not want is a loss to the Rockets, and count on the Rockets going for the upset here.

February 20 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC is coming in fully expecting a win in Houston, but don't count on the Rockets being polite enough to provide it. This is a young group built for the future, and this will be their chance to show just how good they can be.

Finals Record: 5-6

Wins: Bobcats, Warriors, Nets, Wizards, Bucks.

Losses: Heat, Trailblazers, Kings, Warriors, Clippers, Thunder.

Interesting Storylines

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Best One-On-One Matchup

Jeremy Lin is said to be overrated by some and the next great point guard by others. He will take on Chris Paul this month and will have a chance to show just how good he is. The Clippers will be looking to improve their seed, and Paul should be playing his best ball here.

Best-Case Scenario for February

They upset some contenders. Playoffs are a month and a half away, so it is possible they can steal one or two games this month considering how short it is.

Worst-Case Scenario for February

They lose the majority of their home games. They have five home games, and if they drop more than two this is not a good month. They play beatable teams and should be able to win four out of five.

Another pretty good month for the Rockets here. Their schedule has a lot of big breaks in it and some lottery teams to boost the win total.

March List of Games

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

March 1: @ Orlando Magic  

March 3: vs. Dallas Mavericks  

March 6: @ Dallas Mavericks  

March 8: @ Golden State Warriors

March 9: @ Phoenix Suns  

March 13: vs. Phoenix Suns  

March 15: vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

March 17: vs. Golden State Warriors  

March 20: vs. Utah Jazz  

March 22: vs. Cleveland Cavaliers  

March 24: vs. San Antonio Spurs  

March 27: vs. Indiana Pacers  

March 29: @ Memphis Grizzlies  

March 30: vs. Los Angeles Clippers  

Key Games and Prediction

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

March 13 vs. Phoenix Suns

The Suns have Scola and Dragic on their roster this year and at this point might be aiming at the eighth seed. The fans could be nasty for this game, wanting to hurt the playoff chances of Dragic and Scola. 

Final Record: 2-12

Wins: Magic, Cavaliers.

Losses: Mavericks (2), Warriors (2), Suns (2), Timberwolves, Jazz, Spurs, Pacers, Grizzlies, Clippers.

Interesting Storylines

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Best One-On-One Matchup

Goran Dragic and Jeremy Lin square off twice this month. Who was the better point guard for Houston? Well, there is only one way to prove that, and both of these guys will make strong cases.

Best-Case Scenario for March

Beat Phoenix and Golden State. That's four wins right there against two below-average teams. They play half of the games at home, so this could be easier than it looks.

Worst-Case Scenario for March

They can't take advantage of their six game home stand. Six games in a row played at homeâ€"if they can't close at home, then this month will be very ugly.

This is going to be a very rough month. They play a lot of contenders looking for a better playoff position, and they won't be able to hold their own.

April List of Games

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06: Goran Dragic #3 of the Houston Rockets scores on a jumper over Ramon Sessions #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a 112-107 Rockets win at Staples Center on April 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User express
Harry How/Getty Images

April 1: vs. Orlando Magic  

April 3: @ Sacramento Kings  

April 5: @ Portland Trail Blazers  

April 6: @ Denver Nuggets  

April 9: vs. Phoenix Suns  

April 12: vs. Memphis Grizzlies  

April 14: vs. Sacramento Kings  

April 15: @ Phoenix Suns  

April 17: @ Los Angeles Lakers  

Key Games and Prediction

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

April 12 vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The only goal the Rockets should have in April is play spoiler. Exactly what they are going to be doing here.

April 15 @ Phoenix Suns

Playing spoiler to a team that has some of your players on it is even better. They are also playing in Phoenix, which only makes this game more important.

Final Record: 4-5

Wins: Magic, Kings, Nuggets, Lakers.

Losses: Trail Blazers, Suns (2), Grizzlies, Kings.

Interesting Storylines

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Best One-On-One Matchup

Jeremy Lin and Goran Dragic in the penultimate game of the season. Two good point guards, one trying to make the playoffs, and the other trying to tally just a few more wins.

Best-Case Scenario for April

They hurt some of the lower-seeded teams. Chances are the Nuggets, Grizzlies and Suns are going to be hanging around the lower seeds in the West. Here is Houston's opportunity to knock one of them out of the playoffs.

Worst-Case Scenario for April

They start losing at the very end. The last few games of the season are very winnable. The Suns are not a great team, the Lakers will most likely rest their starters, and the Kings are a lottery team. This could easily be a three-game winning streak to end the season.

Okay ending to an otherwise very disappointing year.

Final Analysis

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Final Record: 30-52

The Rockets are going to have a rough year, but not bad enough that the fans lose hope. They will win some games and won't hit the very bottom.

This roster is very promising, and while this will be a year to forget, Houston can only go up from here.

Thank you for reading, and follow me on Twitter for sports talk!

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