When: Sat., Jan. 2, 7:30 p.m. 2016
Led by hall-of-famer Kevin McHale, the dynamic duo of James Harden and Dwight Howard propelled the Houston Rockets to last season’s Western Conference Finals before plummeting back to Earth against the Warriors. Amidst trade rumors and drama associated with Howard, the Rockets are on a mild upswing and playing .500 basketball. Although the Spurs remain the model of stability in the Southwest division, Harden has been a thorn in their side going back to his days in Oklahoma City. San Antonio’s historic pace on defense, however, gives Manu Ginobili and co. a little less reason to fear the beard.