Houston (CBS Houston) – For the lone time this season, LeBron James and the back-to-back defending champion Miami Heat will bring their show to Houston, Tuesday evening. Some players and coaches may not admit it, but the lights get brighter when LeBron James is in town.
No one in today’s NBA, except maybe a healthy Kobe Bryant, draws fans on the road like LeBron James. He’s a captivating force whose presence brings out fans and haters alike.
“Not one guy in the world can shut him down one on one,” Chandler Parsons on Monday. “He’s the best in the league.”
As of Monday afternoon, the matchup was StubHub’s highest selling Rockets game of the year with a get in price of $129.99. The median price of tickets sold was $215.
Compare that to Friday night’s game against the Pacers (the team actually leading the Eastern Conference standings) where the get in price is just $45.80. The median price of tickets sold for that game is $79.50.
Patrick Beverley has seen the LeBron James spotlight first hand. He went through training camp with the Heat in 2010 before being waived in the final round of cuts. And even though some of his teammates went with the ‘just another game’ mantra, Beverley acknowledge the heightened atmosphere.
“Yeah, for sure. It’s the Heat,” Beverley said when asked if there’s a buzz when Miami visits. “You wake up kind of earlier (sic) for that game.”
Fresh off of being named the Western Conference coach of the month, Kevin McHale noted that everyone wants to see how they stack up against the defending champs.
“Miami is where everybody wants to be. Look, everybody in this league wants to be defending back-to-back champions,” McHale said. “I mean, that’s what you want to be and that’s where they’re at.”
The Rockets have lofty goals this season. They want to win the West. The Heat might not stand in the way of that goal, but they could be waiting at the end of the line.
“We could maybe see them later down the road,” Chandler Parsons said. “This is big for us. To play them and know that we can compete with them and beat them.”
Tuesday night will be the first of many tough tests for the Rockets in the month of March. In their next seven games they face Miami twice, Oklahoma City, Portland, and Indiana.
“It’s going to be a good challenge for us.” James Harden said. “We’re are looking forward to it.”
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