Magic at Rockets: Live stream, how to watch, TV channel, start time

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Ben DuBose
·3 min read
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The Orlando Magic (6-2) are currently at No. 2 in the Eastern Conference and well ahead of most expectations entering the 2020-21 NBA season. The Houston Rockets (2-4), on the other hand, are on a two-game losing streak and aren’t yet where they expected to be in the West.

In Friday’s home game at Toyota Center, the Rockets are hoping for both teams to start moving closer to their projections.

One big reason for Houston’s sluggish start has been injuries and absences. During two losses to start the season, John Wall, Eric Gordon, and DeMarcus Cousins weren’t available due to a mandatory quarantime.

Though they won their next two games, superstar guard James Harden sprained an ankle in the middle of that stretch and hasn’t been the same since. Starting forward Danuel House Jr. has missed the last two games (both losses) due to back spasms, and he’s out for Friday, as well.

And rising star Christian Wood, who averaged more than 23 points and 10 rebounds per game as the starting center to begin the season, missed Wednesday’s loss in Indiana and is questionable for Friday with left knee soreness. The Rockets could need Wood’s size in the frontcourt to help counter Orlando’s Nikola Vučević and Aaron Gordon.

With reinforcements uncertain, the Rockets need Harden to be the dominant scorer he was over three strong games to start the season — when he averaged 37 points on 52.5% shooting and 45.5% on 3-pointers — and not the version that has averaged 18.0 points per game on 32.3% FG (25.0% on 3-pointers) in losses to Dallas and Indiana this week.

Here’s when you should tune in to see Friday’s game:

  • Date: Friday, Jan. 8

  • Time: 7 p.m. Central

  • TV Channel: AT&T SportsNet Southwest

  • Live stream: fuboTV in usual Houston markets (watch for free)

Probable starting lineups

Houston Rockets

  • Guard: James Harden

  • Guard: John Wall

  • Forward: David Nwaba

  • Forward: PJ Tucker

  • Center: Christian Wood

Orlando Magic

  • Guard: Cole Anthony

  • Guard: Evan Fournier

  • Forward: Dwayne Bacon

  • Forward: Aaron Gordon

  • Center: Nikola Vučević

The Magic enter coming off back-to-back home wins over Cleveland. In Wednesday’s 105-94 victory (box score), reserve guard Terrence Ross scored a team-high 20 points off the bench in just 22 minutes.

The Magic do have several significant injury absences, including Markelle Fultz (torn ACL); Jonathan Isaac (torn ACL); Al-Farouq Aminu (arthroscopic knee surgery); and Chuma Okeke (bone bruise in knee).

With consecutive games looming on Sunday and Tuesday versus the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, the Rockets should play with a significant sense of urgency on Friday as they look to snap the two-game losing streak. Otherwise, an extended skid can’t be ruled out, since a three-game road trip follows the two games against the Lakers.

Houston is 2-1 at home this season and 0-3 on the road, and they’re hopeful that a return to Toyota Center will provide a spark.

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