Defense Gives Spurs Hope in Battle with Rockets

Jason Lake

Sunday, April 1, 2018 4:19 AM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 1, 2018 4:19 AM UTC

They won’t say if or when Kawhi Leonard will be back, but the San Antonio Spurs haven’t folded their tents – and they might be a solid NBA pick against the Houston Rockets.

NBA Betting: Rockets vs. SpursFree NBA Pick: Spurs +2.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Will Kawhi Leonard ever play another game for the San Antonio Spurs? We might never know. Leonard has tendinopathy in his right quadriceps; he was reported as medically cleared in late February and, in theory, he could be back any day now – including today (3:30 p.m. ET; ABC) when the Spurs host the Houston Rockets.

Just don’t expect the Spurs to help us out with any reliable information about Leonard’s status. The NBA odds for this matchup came out very late, but let's do what we can to get ready.

Everybody Ignores Chris

First, there’s another MVP-level player who’s definitely not suiting today. Houston's Chris Paul (plus-7.3 BPM) is going to sit this one out, and at press time it looks like the official reason will be DNP-Rest, although the Rockets (62-14 SU, 40-35-1 ATS) originally said it was a sore left hip. Eric Gordon (minus-0.8 BPM) is expected to play despite a sore knee, so at least Houston will be able to recoup some of the offense they’ll lose without Paul in the backcourt. Nene (minus-0.5 BPM), on the other hand, appears to be out with a sore back.

Paul remains one of the best players in the NBA – just not quite as good this year as his teammate, James Harden (plus-10.9 BPM), who’s a slam-dunk to win the MVP award despite every attempt to put LeBron James (plus-9.7 BPM) or even Damian Lillard (plus-6.5 BPM) in the mix. The Rockets are still winning games left and right with Harden running the show; however, they’re anything but profitable at 17-5 SU and 10-13 ATS without Paul.

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Chris Paul was the real 2007-08 MVP.

— Nekias Duncan (@NekiasNBA) March 30, 2018
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The Spurs (44-32 SU, 40-34-2 ATS) don’t have any other MVP candidates besides Leonard, who has played only nine games this year. But they do have LaMarcus Aldridge (plus-3.1 BPM) as a quality offensive weapon, plus a lot of guys who play All-Star defense. San Antonio is fighting hard for one of those last six (!) playoff spots in the Western Conference that hasn’t been sewn up yet. They’re 8-2 SU and ATS in their last 10 games.

We’ll put the Spurs plus the points in our NBA picks, but make sure you like the price you’re getting if you want in, and may the sphere be with you.

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