Consider placing NBA picks on the Houston Rockets as they race for the Southwest Division lead & No. 2 seed in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs. Will they cover NBA odds tonight?
The Minnesota Timberwolves Can Win Because…
They are getting quality basketball from multiple sources, some of them expected but others much more surprising. It’s not a surprise that Andrew Wiggins is one player who is doing well for Minnesota. His rookie season might not be a runaway success, but it’s been very, very good, and it has given the Minnesota organization a great deal of reassurance that it made the right move in trading away Kevin Love for Wiggins. In the Timberwolves’ most recent game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, Wiggins didn’t just score 27 points. He did so by taking only 16 shots and making half of them. He also got to the foul line and made 10 of 11 free throws. That’s very noticeable and laudable. Wiggins also hauled down six rebounds and dished out four assists. He did a little bit of everything. That kind of performance from Wiggins will win games if Wiggins gets enough help from his teammates.
Chase Budinger and Lorenzo Brown are trying. Budinger scored 22 points on 9 of 14 shooting (3 of 6 on three-pointers) in the game against the Lakers. Brown, a point guard forced to replace Ricky Rubio, grabbed nine rebounds, a high number for someone at his position. If Minnesota can just get a little more from its starting frontcourt, especially the power forward and center positions (Adreian Payne and Gorgui Dieng), this team could beat Houston, upsetting the NBA odds.
The Houston Rockets Can Win Because…
They are not likely to get the Timberwolves at full strength. Kevin Martin, the normal starting shooting guard for Minnesota, is listed as questionable for this game with a hamstring injury. Minnesota doesn’t just need Martin on the court, but it needs him at or very close to full strength. Martin scored 37 points on March 18 against Toronto, hitting 14 of 28 shots and giving the Timberwolves a big lift. Martin doesn’t always score efficiently, but when he’s in a good rhythm on his jump shot, he’s a player who commands attention from a defense and is able to space the floor.
That brings up another injury-related set of problems for Minnesota, though: it’s not just Martin who has been battling injuries. Rubio did not play on Wednesday and is doubtful for Friday. The same was true for Kevin Garnett and Nikola Pekovic. This team is really beaten up right now, and if none of its prime players can take the court in this game, the result should be obvious.
The fact that the Timberwolves are so beaten up at so many positions makes Houston the logical NBA Pick and much more likely choice in this game. It’s a big NBA spread to lay here but the Rockets are still the better choice.
NBA Pick: Houston -12.5 at Bet365