The Rockets may be without Dwight Howard, but that hasn't made much of an impact on the NBA odds. They're still favored by a good margin on the road against Boston for tonight.
At the moment, the Rockets are favored by six points on the NBA odds, although there are some sites that have six-and-a-half available.
We've got a high total of 206.5 on the board, which suggests we'll see a nice tempo and a lot of scoring, two things that make for an entertaining game. Whenever James Harden is playing, you better believe points will be scored.
The Celtics will have their rare moments here and there where they show up and grab wins when people don't really expect it, but for the most part they've struggled this season. They've gone through quite a few roster changes throughout the season and so they haven't been able to forge much chemistry. They're one of the NBA's youngest teams and have a bright coach at the helm, so the future is still bright for Boston.
For now though, the results aren't going to be all that great, and recent performances back that statement up. They've gone 6-12 over their last 18 games overall and are 16-28 overall on the season, as we near the All Star break. On Wednesday night, Boston was beaten badly by Minnesota, losing by 12, so spirits can't be all that high at this time.
Playing at one of the fastest paces in the NBA, the Celtics have at least been easier to peg when it comes to predicting games. They've been involved in a lot of shootouts this season, so they're going to be up for the challenge of trying to out run-and-gun Harden and the rest of the Rockets tonight. Kelly Olynyk remains out, meaning Brandon Bass should continue to start alongside Jared Sullinger in the frontcourt.
Even though Dwight Howard is banged up again, the Rockets continue to win basketball games, and a big reason why is James Harden. He's been one of the best players in the league this season and it could safely be argued that he should be involved in MVP contention. Harden has indeed been that good.
Ahead of tonight, Houston checks in with a three-game winning streak which has seen the team top the Suns, Lakers and Mavericks. Those are three solid wins (okay, maybe two), especially when you consider two came on the road. Overall, the Rockets are 32-14 on the season and has such are in a prime position in the Western Conference.
Howard's injury is worrying, but the Rockets have Harden going berserk on a nightly basis and a lot of depth, so they should keep winning quite a bit.
We don't feel confident in either one of these teams in this spot. The Rockets are the better team, but they're not the same without Howard out there. Harden is going to keep having to do a lot of heavy lifting, though the return of Terrence Jones comes at the right time. They have the depth, but Houston is also prone to letdowns here and there, and we know the Celtics are going to show up and give a good effort on their own court. It's not going to come all tha teasy for the favorites in our estimation.
Instead of an ATS play, we're going to pivot and roll with the OVER, as we anticipate a very high pace and a lot of points being scored as a result. We should be seeing a lot of possessions in this one, with not much attention to defense being made.
Harden and company will match up with a Boston team that has a number of guys who can score. Back the OVER as your NBA pick and let's hope for an up-tempo game.
NBA Pick: OVER 206.5 at 5Dimes