Better Offense Makes Rockets -8.5 Our NBA Pick Over Timberwolves

Swinging Johnson

Friday, March 18, 2016 3:06 PM GMT

The Timberwolves invade Houston as their last stop of a four-game road trip while the Rockets look to rebound after a loss to the Clippers. Let’s review the NAB odds and cash a winner tonight.

Minnesota Timberwolves (22-46 SU, 31-36-1 ATS)
The Timberwolves have split their last six contests straight up and covered the NBA odds in four of those games. In yet another season of futility Minnesota is playing out the string, registering only 22 wins on their record with 14 left to play but have won and covered two of three in this four game road trip. Zach LaVine has been heating up down the homestretch for the Wolves shooting 31 of 52 over the last four games including 11-of-21 from beyond the arc.

In their last outing, Minnesota visited Memphis and matched a season high 42 points in the first quarter which provided a lead the Wolves would not relinquish. Zach LaVine was once again on fire with 28 points and matched his career high of six three-pointers. It was a team effort for Minnesota with Karl-Anthony Towns netting 18 points and 10 boards, Anthony Wiggins 16, while Ricky Rubio and Gorgui Dieng added 15 in the 114-108 victory. The Grizzlies’ starting lineup, decimated by injuries, outrebounded the Timberwolves 51-33 and outscored Minnesota 70-40 in the paint.

 

Houston Rockets (34-34 SU, 30-38 ATS)
Heading into their date with the LA Clippers on Wednesday night the Rockets appeared to have gotten their mojo back winning four of their last five culminating in a thorough destruction of the Memphis Grizzlies 130-81. But for all those who included Houston in their NBA picks as 3½ point home favorites over the Clippers, the results were far from optimum. The writing was clearly on the wall at the half when the scoreboard showed Los Angeles with a 72-50 lead which the Clippers never gave up, en route to a 122-106 beatdown of the Rockets.

James Harden led the Houston offense with 33 points and eight assists while Michael Beasley and Trevor Ariza chipped in 16 each. Houston has surrendered 110 or more points in 10 of their last 22 contests which illustrates the glaring defensive deficiency they have had all season long. Despite averaging a healthy 106.1 points per game, 4th in the league, the Rockets invisible defense has been their undoing. Entering tonight’s game against LA Houston is ranked 27th in points allowed averaging 106.9 and when you are giving up more than you are scoring the results are going to be middling at best. Thus, the Rockets sport a 34-34 record and have a tenuous grip on a playoff seed. They are currently tied with the Mavericks for the 7th and 8th playoff spot with the Utah Jazz only one game behind. Every game counts from here on in.

 

Betting Analysis
These clubs will play their second of three games this season tonight, with Houston prevailing at home back on January 13th by the score of 107-104 as 7 ½ point home chalk. Though the Wolves looked mighty impressive in the first quarter of their last outing against Memphis, they were not particularly dominant the rest of the way and hung on to claim the 114-108 victory against a woefully undermanned Grizzlies squad. In fact, it was that same Memphis squad that took the court two days earlier against Houston and was dismantled by the Rockets by 49 points.

The T-Wolves are toast and are merely looking forward to a merciful end of the season while the Rockets are hanging on for dear life just to earn a playoff berth. I will be the first to say that desperation does not necessarily translate into success as that aspect is vastly overrated in the minds of the betting public. However, the Timberwolves do not play tough defense and the Rockets do one thing very well - score. We will lay the points and grab the home team here.

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NBA Pick: Rockets -8.5
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek