Fade Short-Handed & Restless Rockets, Clippers -8 the NBA Pick

Jason Lake

Saturday, November 7, 2015 8:28 PM GMT

Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 8:28 PM GMT

The Houston Rockets are starting the new season the same way they ended last year: injured. Can they beat the basketball odds this Saturday against the L.A. Clippers?

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Nov. 6: 1-3 ATS

Imagine what a healthy Houston Rockets team could have done last year. Only the Minnesota Timberwolves lost more man-games to injury than the Rockets, but Houston was still able to finish second in the Western Conference at 56-26 (48-34 ATS). Then the Rockets made it all the way to the Western Finals before bowing out to the Golden State Warriors. So how is the new season starting out for the replenished Rockets?

Not so hot. Injuries have already been a problem, and it's been mostly the same players as last year: center Dwight Howard (back), PF Terrence Jones (eye), PG Patrick Beverley (concussion) and PF Donatas Motiejunas (back). At least Howard is expected to play this Saturday when the Rockets visit the team they beat in the Western semis, the Los Angeles Clippers. At press time, the Clippers are 8-point favorites on our NBA Odds Board with a very big total of 218 points.

 

Lance Can't Dance
The Rockets come into Saturday's contest (10:30 p.m. ET, FSW2) having beaten the Sacramento Kings 116-100 on Friday as 4-point road faves – just enough to improve to 3-3 SU and 2-4 ATS on the season. SG James Harden had 43 points against the Kings, and all of Houston's starters finished in double digits, but the bench scored a combined 13 points. Oof. Good thing they're getting Howard back; note that the Kings were without center DeMarcus Cousins on Friday.

Things have gone much more smoothly for the Clippers (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) so far. However, it hasn't been because of their bench. Five games is a small sample size, of course, but here are some numbers on the new crew:

SF Lance Stephenson: 8.2 PER, –0.8 BPM
SF Paul Pierce: 11.3 PER, +0.3 BPM
PF Josh Smith: 7.0 PER, –0.6 BPM
SF Wesley Johnson: 11.7 PER, –1.3 BPM

That's not exactly what the Clips had in mind when they reloaded during the offseason. But they've got three other capable new reserves who have barely seen the floor thus far: PF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (eight minutes), center Cole Aldrich (seven minutes) and PG Pablo Prigioni (seven minutes). Meanwhile, Stephenson (106 minutes) is in L.A.'s starting rotation. Once again, Doc Rivers the coach and Doc Rivers the PBO are divided against each other.

This hasn't been a problem for the Clippers yet this year, but PG Chris Paul (21.4 PER, +4.2 BPM) is going to be at less than 100 percent on Saturday after straining his right groin during Wednesday's 112-108 loss to the Golden State Warriors (–7.5 at home). If it weren't for the fact that Houston is playing short-handed on zero days of rest, we'd be on the Rockets like Slim Pickens. Instead, make it a small bet on L.A. for our NBA Picks, and may the sphere be with you.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Clippers –8 (–105) at Pinnacle

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2882553, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,349], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

comment here