Though the Rockets have been a lot better than usual defensively this season, we reckon tonight's visit of the Nuggets will result in a high-scoring Western Conference battle.
It doesn't matter that the injuries are piling up for Houston. The Rockets are still favored in the NBA odds by seven points on their home floor for this home game against Ty Lawson and the Nuggets. Keep tracking SBR's lines monitoring service in order to maximize your value with your NBA picks.
At time of writing, the O/U was at 204 points, signalling that we should be in for a relatively high-scoring contest. It's hard to disagree.
Admittedly, it's been impressive to see the Rockets continue to chug along regardless of the injury to Dwight Howard. It's hard to ignore what Howard brings to the table when he's available, but Houston has not only survived but seems to be thriving regardless of his absence.
Heading in, Houston owns a 17-5 overall record, and they've won five of their last games, with the sole defeat coming on the road against a very good Golden State team.
The Rockets were last on the court Thursday in a hard-fought overtime win over Sacramento. It was the James Harden show once more, as he terrorized the Kings for 44 points, despite his lingering back issues. Harden, who scored 10 points in the overtime period, was 14-of-32 of the field and added eight assists, four rebounds and three steals. Patrick Beverley had a 15/10/5 line in the win, as he continues to play lights out since returning from injury.
Credit Houston for continuing to show up game in and game out without one of their best players. Most of the credit should go to that backcourt though, especially Harden, who's taken on more responsibility without skipping a beat. Coming in, Harden and the Rockets are ranked second in the NBA in defensive efficiency - crazy, right?
The Nuggets have been a very tricky team to figure out this season. They've gone through some topsy turvy moments throughout the early stages of the season.
Ahead of tonight's contest, Denver will be feeling a little better about themselves after ending a four-game losing streak by beating Miami by 20 points on Wednesday.
The Nuggets took advantage of a Heat team that was playing the second part of a back-to-back. They got double-digit scoring out of five different players, with Wilson Chandler's 17 points and eight boards leading the way. Ty Lawson wasn't dominant offensively but still managed a 10/9/4 line with three steals to boot, while Kenneth Faried provided 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench in his return from injury.
With how streaky Denver has been this year, it wouldn't surprise us to see them put together another lengthy winning streak, although it's going to take a herculean effort in Houston tonight. The Nuggets have the talent to do some damage, but their inconsistency, especially on the defensive end, has been a big obstacle.
We're going to switch gears a little bit for tonight's game in Houston. Instead of focusing in on a spread pick, we'll take the OVER for our NBA pick. We like what Houston's been doing, but Denver has quite a bit of talent and we imagine they'll make a game of it, especially since the Rockets are so banged up.
Which statistics go in our favor for the OVER? Well, both teams rank in the top 10 in PACE, with Denver in sixth and Houston in eighth.
The Rockets may be ranked high in defensive efficiency, but a lot of that has to do with Howard's presence in the interior early on in the season. Meanwhile, the Nuggets have been very poor on the defensive end. At the end of the day, we think it'll be a back-and-forth game, with guard play (Harden and Lawson) leading the way. Take the OVER.
Free NBA Pick: OVER 204