Houston Rockets tralve to Dallas to meed the Mavericks in their third game of the playoff series. Join our handicapper as he shares his odds analysis and free NBA picks for this matchup.
Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks (-1) 7:00 ET ESPN
At 7:00 p.m. ET, as televised by ESPN, the Houston Rockets travel to Dallas to face the Mavericks in the 3rd game in their best of 7 Round 1 series. The Rockets emerged with victories in the first two games by scores of 118-108 and 111-99 and tonight are posted as a pick 'em on the NBA odds. That pair of double digit victories, in which the Rockets averaged 114.5 PPG, were not as close as the final score indicated. Now, the site swings to Dallas, where the Mavericks’ 27-14 SU home record is only 1 game better than the Rockets 26-15 SU road mark.
The struggles for the Mavericks have been well documented on these pages. The Mavs were 36-19 SU at the All-Star break. Since that time, they have gone 14-15 SU. Mid-season acquisition of PG Rondo has disrupted the offensive flow and caused locker room friction, as he was clearly not on the same page with HC Carlisle. The fact he will miss the remainder of the NBA Playoffs (back) may actually prove to be a positive for the Mavs. But, the absence of Chandler Parsons (knee), who has now been declared out for the season, is a major negative. Though Harris is scheduled to return for the Mavs, his turf toe will limit his effectiveness. The bottom line is this is clearly a team that is tough to trust! Witness their combined 33 assists in the first two games (lowest in the playoffs) and the fact they shot 37% from the field and 27% from the arc in the previous game.
Contrast that to the offensive performance of Houston, who has dished out 51 assists, while committing only 25 TOs in the first two games, resulting in outstanding offensive efficiency. Lead guard, Harden, is clearly the best player on the floor – and maybe in the entire NBA. The return of Dwight Howard in the middle, where he contributed 28 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2, is a major plus! And, if Josh Smith, a mid-season acquisition, continues to contribute his Game 2 numbers of 15 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists, the Rockets will be tough to beat.
Yesterday, I quoted the excellence of home teams in Game 3 of the First Round, a near 60% proposition. This is even higher for greater than .520 home teams, as it approaches 65% winners. In addition, playing home teams following consecutive double digit losses is a strong technical situation. Though we must respect that history, the fundamentals of Houston far outweigh any technical considerations. With the Rockets rolling with 5 consecutive wins, it is no surprise to this bureau, if the fundamentals of this matchup do not result in another one-sided victory.