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  • Hornets forward Jason Smith will play against Houston tonight, but after leaving Monday’s game early with a shoulder tweak coach Monty Williams said he’ll watch him closely. “Jason always has something going on because he plays that renegade kind of basketball,” Williams said. “I’ll certainly watch him tonight. If I see any effects with his shoulder we’ll get him out of the game and try to help him out as best as we can.”
  • New Orleans’ Greivis Vasquez is averaging 14 points, nine assists and 4.5 rebounds this season. That’s roughly double his previous career averages.
  • Expected Hornets starters: (F) Al-Farouq Aminu; (F) Ryan Anderson; (C) Robin Lopez; (G) Eric Gordon; (G) Vasquez
  • Houston coach Kevin McHale was effusive in his praise of guard James Harden, calling him a “special” player. In the past five games, Harden has scored at least 25 points and recorded 23 assists in that stretch. “He has got that unique ability to make shots and put pressure on the defense,” McHale said. “He can attack and score against bigs, which a lot of guards can’t do.”
  • Through Jan. 6, the Sunday of this current week, the Rockets were third in the NBA in steals per game at 8.85 and first in the NBA in points at 106.2.
  • Expected Rockets starters: (C) Omer Asik; (G) Harden; (G) Jeremy Lin; (F) Marcus Morris; (F) Chandler Parsons

-Bradley Handwerger

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