A hobbled James Harden scored just 10 points last time out against the Kings. History suggests a huge rebound effort tonight as Harden's Rockets host the Atlanta Hawks in a TNT game.
NBA MVP candidate James Harden says he's “fine” after bumping knees with a Kings defender in Houston's 105-83 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday night. The knock occurred barely two minutes into the contest, forcing the tough-as-nails star -- who has missed just one game in the last three years (suspension) -- to don a knee brace for the remainder of the game. "I was really in pain; I couldn't really bend it so I had to just figure out what was going on," Harden told reporters following the win.
Visibly hobbled, Harden scored a season-low 10 points, while pulling down 7 rebounds and picking up 8 assists. It was only the ninth time in his Rockets career scoring 10 or fewer points while playing more than 25 minutes. What can we expect from the five-time All-Star tonight? A heroic performance if history is to judge. Check out our free pick of Hawks-Rockets.
Harden, the NBA's third-leading points-getter with 28.4 per game, has come back big at home when not factoring as much the previous contest. In the last calendar year, if Harden scored less than his average at the Toyota Center in the previous game, he has dropped 29 points or more in eight of nine on home hardwood next time out. Overall, he's averaging 32.6 points, 10.6 assists, and 7.1 boards per game in this spot. Props bettors and daily fantasy players take note, but do monitor his health status prior to the Hawks matchup.
While we're on the subject of Harden, one other situational wager worth noting is monitoring the number of minutes he logs in a road game before returning home. Houston is often flat returning from a road trip when Harden fails to sit much prior to travel, signifying a hard-fought battle before sending off.
In the last calendar year, the Rockets are 2-10 ATS and 10-2 to the 'under' on NBA picks when Harden logs 38 minutes or more in an away tilt before returning home. The team is averaging 102.7 points per game, scoring fewer than predicted in 10 of 12. Houston averages 114.9 at the Toyota Center this season. If one goes back to the beginning of 2015, the Rockets are 16-5 to the 'under' and 7-14 ATS under these conditions, covering just two of their last 14 played.
The Rockets have played more road games this season (29) than any other team, so February is chock-full of Houston home dates. The return scheduling in the near future are contests against the Suns on Feb. 11 and Timberwolves on Feb. 25. March and April offers six total home dates off an away contest. Keep your eyes open, and log Harden's minutes.