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Harden, Rockets ready to restart vs. hungry Mavs

Before the NBA abruptly suspended the regular season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Houston Rockets were in the throes of a grand experiment, intriguingly embracing a small-ball lineup while eyeballing another potentially extended postseason run.

Four-plus months later, the Rockets (40-24) will pick up where they left off, facing the Dallas Mavericks (40-27) on Friday in a seeding game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

The Rockets enter the restart in sixth place in the Western Conference standings. With the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs set to be contested in Central Florida, the concept of home-court advantage has been devalued, rendering seeding an exercise in securing favorable first-round matchups.