The latest 2013 NBA live streaming and televised games will include a battle between two potential NBA Finals teams on Friday night. It will be Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets visiting Paul George and the Indiana Pacers in a battle of teams that are among the best in offense and defense in the league, respectively. Friday night's televised and live stream NBA game will be part of a doubleheader presented via ESPN and their networks.
According to a Dec. 20 report from ESPN.com, the big news for the Pacers is that they will have forward Danny Granger finally back on the court, as he makes his season debut tonight after missing almost all of last season with a knee injury. Granger, a former All-Star, said of his return set for tonight's matchup with the Rockets:
"I'm excited to finally be able to play. ... I feel ready now. This is my (ninth) year, I've played a lot of basketball games. I'm happy to finally be playing this season, I'm definitely excited."
Granger has averaged 18.1 points per game over his 9-year career, so his scoring, rebounding and presence will all help out, even if his game time is limited. Add that to the fact they have sixth best scorer in the league in Paul George with his 23.8 points per game and the second best player in blocks with Roy Hibbert, and it's clear that this team's talent is becoming even more of a force in the East. The Pacers currently own the best record in the conference at 20-5, with the Heat at 19-6 right behind them, making every win crucial. Ironically, they're on a two-game losing streak, but with just one loss at home seem ready for a big game tonight.
The Rockets on the other hand would currently be fifth best overall if the season ended today with their record of 17-9 overall. They come into tonight's away game with a road record of 6-6, and with the league's second-best rebounder in Dwight Howard (13.0 rpg). Howard, who joined the Rockets after spending just one season with the LA Lakers last year, is also seventh in the league in blocked shots with 1.8 per contest. Guard James Harden continues to lead the team in scoring, averaging 24.4 points per game, which is just a spot above the Pacers' George. Houston will come into this game after a win at home over the Chicago Bulls 109-94 two days ago.
When it comes to offense, the Rockets are one of the top three teams in the league, with an offensive efficiency, field goal percentage and three-point shot percentage each ranking third-best, as well as ranking second in the league with transition points per game. However, Indiana is one of the best defensive teams, ranking first or second in multiple categories, including limiting opponents in their field goal percentage, three-point percentage and transition game. With that in mind, this could be an interesting clash of styles, with both teams looking to use this game as a measuring stick for the 2014 postseason, but most importantly, looking to add another important "W" to their record which will help when the season is winding down.
Odds makers have given the edge tonight to the Pacers at home. The line first opened at 7 points in favor of Indiana, but has dipped a bit to about 5 1/2 points at various sports books. The over/under total points bet for the game is set at 198 at various books, while the only notable injury for tonight could be James Harden, although the Houston guard is listed as probable.
Friday night's Rockets vs. Pacers game has a scheduled start time of 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The game can be seen on cable or satellite television via ESPN in standard and hi-definition formats. Additionally, there is live streaming online coverage of tonight's game through the ESPN broadband sports network, WatchESPN. See more details here for availability by cable or satellite company as well any blackouts or device restrictions.