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Omer Asik and Dwight Howard to start preseason game

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Now Howard and Asik will be next to each other as starters.   (USATSI)
Now Howard and Asik will be next to each other as starters. (USATSI)

The grand experiment begins.

The Houston Rockets are set to give the Omer-Asik-Dwight-Howard combo a try in the starting lineup on Monday.

There's been debate over whether this combination can work since the Rockets signed Howard back in July. Immediately, reports surfaced that Asik was demanding a trade. Asik declined comment on the situation at media day, while Howard has said there won't be a problem playing next to the traditional center.

It's just a preseason game, and lots of coaches are trying new lineups they won't necessarily use in the regular season right now. But it does show the Rockets' genuine interest in making the pairing work... at least as long as it takes to raise Asik's trade value.

Howard's specific size and skillset could work well beside Asik's raw size. But if one of them gets in foul trouble, the rotations could come apart. The Rockets lack depth at the position, especially with Marcus Camby's injury slowing things up. We'll see how it works in the preseason, and more importantly, whether the Rockets want to pursue it as a long-term approach.

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