The San Antonio Spurs begin a two-game mini series with their division rival, the Houston Rockets on Thursday. The Spurs come in with a record of 6-5 while the Rockets are 3-6 on the season. The Spurs won 2 out of 3 from the Rockets last year, covering the spread in all three games. The Rockets have been unable to lift off this year, but can they find a spark versus the Spurs.
Rockets get embarrassed by LakersThe Houston Rockets have been in a funk, losing 4 of their last 5 games to fall to 3-6. They have a disgruntled superstar James Harden on their hands and it's hard to think the Rockets can move forward until Harden is sent packing. Well, Harden got traded to Brooklyn on Wednesday in a four-way deal that brings Victor Oladipo to the Rockets along with some other flotsam and a lot of draft picks.
On Monday, the Rockets were embarrassed at home by the Lakers. The final was 117-100 but the actual game was far more lopsided. The Lakers led from the first quarter by 30 points and the Rockets only cut it to 17 in garbage time.
The Rockets only shot 39% from the floor and were out rebounded 55-42. Christian Wood led the Rockets with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Harden had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists but he only shot 5 of 16 from the field and 1 for 6 from three-point range. Eric Gordon and DeMarcus Cousins each had 13 points for the Rockets. The Rockets average 111 points per game and give up 113 points per contest.
Spurs playing wellThe San Antonio Spurs are playing more like the team that Greg Popovich led to five NBA titles. Not that they have the horses that Popovich had n his title years. But they are playing with the defensive intensity and offensive efficiency that marked the great Spurs teams of the past. The Spurs rank 11th in rebounds, 1st in fewest turnovers committed, 11th in assists, and 9th in three-point shooting percentage. They allow 112 points per game, which ranks 18th in the league.
The Spurs have won 4 of their last 5 games including a 112-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday. The Spurs only had 4 turnovers t5o 13 for the Thunder. They also had 26 assists to 18 for the Thunder. Lonnie walked led the way with 24 points while Patty Mills had 17 points off the bench. Also, Keldon Johnson added 18 points and 7 rebounds while Dejounte Murray chipped in with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Stats & Trends
- Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a double-digit loss at home.
- Rockets are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points.
- Rockets are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 road games.
- Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Spurs are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
Take the Rockets here to cover the spread. The Rockets are too talented to be playing this badly. But to be fair, they are coming off back-to-back games against the league's best team, the Los Angeles Lakers. They've also had recent losses to Dallas and Indiana. They have a softer schedule coming up where they have a chance to win some games and get back in contention. Plus, they got rid of Harden, which should be addition by subtraction the way he had been sulking and out of shape. The Rockets are too talented to be playing this badly. I like their chances in this one with Harden gone, even if Oladipo doesn't play.