James Harden and the Houston Rockets host LeBron James and the Miami Heat tonight in the Toyota Center. The Rockets have been installed as underdogs for this trip of the defending champs – can they keep it close?
It's been middle-of-the-road type of success for both the
Rockets and the Heat in terms of ATS performance. Houston is 3-3 ATS while Miami is
The Heat are getting the love from NBA odds makers, listed as
5.5-point favorites at most sportsbooks. The total, meanwhile, is at 194.5 for
Taking a four-game winning streak into Memphis, the Heat
were in for a rude awakening. They were smashed by the Grizzlies in a 104-86
Miami even came in favored, but that all quickly went down
the drain after Memphis posted a 34-point second quarter to take a 56-41
halftime lead. The Heat couldn't recover from there.
Despite the loss, LeBron did his thing, as always. He had 20
points on 10-of-19 shooting and added 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and
a block. Chris Bosh chipped in with 22 points and eight boards, but Dwyane Wade
(eight points on 3-of-15 shooting) and Ray Allen (2-of-7 FG for five points)
Not only did the Heat connect on 38.0 percent of their
shots, but they were a miserable 61.1 percent from the free throw line as well.
The focus and execution was just not there for Miami all night long.
Perhaps Erik Spoelstra's squad can rebound against Houston,
whom they've beaten five straight times. The Heat are 4-1 ATS in those
matchups, but obviously the makeup of the Rockets rotation is much different
All things considered, you'd have to say a 3-3 record at
this point in the season isn't too shabby for the new-look Rockets.
So far, Houston has beaten Detroit twice, as well as
notching an impressive 109-102 road victory over Atlanta. Losses have come at
home to Denver (93-87) and Portland (95-85) and on the road against Memphis
Their last time on the court, though, the Rockets had little
trouble sweeping the Pistons aside in a 96-82 win. Houston dominated in points
in the paint (44-28), with an uncharacteristically strong offensive showing
from Omer Asik (14 points) paving the way.
James Harden was a little more efficient shooting the ball,
finishing 6-of-14 for 20 points, to go along with five rebounds and two
assists. He did however have five turnovers and has now turned the ball over at
least four times in each of Houston's games so far.
Tonight's game will be a great test for the young Rockets.
We'll be able to see if these guys can really compete with the best.
The Rockets still have a lot of things to figure out with
their vastly changed roster, so it may take a little while before they're truly
at their peak.
As such, we recommend going nowhere near this spread. The
Heat are coming off a blowout loss and could very well come out and
destroy Houston, but the Rockets are the more rested team and may not go down
Therefore, how about we take the OVER? These are two teams
that love to run, and the amount of shooters that will be on the court
shouldn't be ignored, either. Harden, Lin, Parsons, Patterson, Delfino, and
Morris have all averaged at least two three-point attempts per game this season,
while LeBron, Allen, Chalmers, Battier, and Lewis have done the same.
We foresee a lot of points in this one. Take the OVER.
NBA Pick: OVER
194.5 at Legends