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Preview: Rockets resume season against Mavericks

Houston look to get off to strong start

FILE - In this Saturday, March 7, 2020, file photo, Houston Rockets guard James Harden passes against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C. Harden practiced with his teammates for the first time this summer, Thursday, July 16, 2020, after arriving later than most of the Rockets for the season restart at Walt Disney World. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, March 7, 2020, file photo, Houston Rockets guard James Harden passes against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C. Harden practiced with his teammates for the first time this summer, Thursday, July 16, 2020, after arriving later than most of the Rockets for the season restart at Walt Disney World. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – We’ve heard it a million times. The NBA season is a sprint, not a marathon.

Every game counts, even the initial games, which determine to seed.

Friday night, the Rockets take on the Mavericks. Here are three things to look for:

1.) Playing without Eric Gordon

A left ankle sprain has sidelined Eric Gordon, who slimmed down during the pandemic and could be a key to success in the bubble.

The Rockets’ bench is deep enough to where they should survive, but Gordon will be missed. His exact timetable isn’t known.

2.) Small Ball Continues

It’s no secret the Rockets embraced small ball, but never really perfected it before the season was shut down.

Robert Covington against the 7-foot-3-inches Kristaps Porzingas will be an interesting matchup.

3.) Defending Seth Curry

Many said Seth Curry took on his brother Steph’s mindset during the scrimmages, shooting a perfect game against the Lakers.

Defending Curry will be key for Houston.