John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela and the Houston Rockets on Monday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
Here are three things to watch...
Baby steps: The Wizards have a little momentum going. They have won two of their past three games with the lone loss coming on the road against the Raptors, who have the NBA's best record. Their two wins have been against teams with .500 records or better and Dwight Howard's return from injury appears imminent.
The Wizards haven't had a whole lot to celebrate this season, but there have been some encouraging signs in the past week or so. What they haven't done in a while, though, is put together a complete performance on both ends of the floor.
Their win against the Clippers on Tuesday required a 24-point comeback. Their win against the Pelicans on Saturday night was despite a horror show of defense in the first half. They probably won't be able to get away with just one good half of basketball against the Rockets.
Threes will be extra important: Threes are always pivotal in today's NBA and the Wizards were reminded of that in their loss on Friday against the Raptors. The Wizards gave up way too many threes and couldn't make their own.
Threes are even more vital against the Rockets, who have built a team based on them. They are top two in the NBA in threes made, threes attempted, threes allowed and three-point attempts allowed.
The Rockets will fire away from long range and make it difficult for the Wizards to get their shots off. The good news for the Wizards is that they had a lot of success against this same Houston team last season when it came to threes. In one game, they made 12 and shot 48 percent. In the other meeting, they made 18 and shot 50 percent. The latter was a Wizards win in Washington.
Rockets are playing better: Like the Wizards, the Rockets have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA this season. Though they are 9-9 and haven't been as bad as Washington, they are coming off a year in which they won 65 games and were one win away from the NBA Finals.
Houston, though, has stabilized a bit. They won five straight games before losing their most recent two. And that stretch included wins against the Pacers, Nuggets, Warriors, Kings and Pistons; all teams with winning records.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS: