Free NBA Picks for Tonight's Rockets vs. Warriors

Joe Catalano

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 6:25 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 6:25 PM GMT

Highering Steve Kerr is the best thing that the Golden State Warriors have ever done as they have the best record in basketball at 18-2. Tonight, they face a tough Houston Rockets (16-4) team that could be without the services of James Harden and Dwight Howard. Do the Rockets have any chance to keep this game competitive? Stand by for our pick.

Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 pm ET tonight at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

 

Double Digit Dog
This is due to the fact that James Harden is listed as questionable for this game. As far as Dwight Howard is concerned, some site have declared him doubtful, therefore I'm thinking that odds makers are waiting to see if James Harden plays.

An educated guess would be that Harden wouldn't play because 11 points are way to high as the Rockets are 16-4 on the season. If word comes out that Harden does play, you can expect the NBA odds to decrease at a rapid pace. This is the only situation in which you'll see the Rockets as an 11 point underdog

 

13 Straight Wins!
The Golden State Warriors were expected to have a good season, but nobody could expect a start like this. The big difference with this team has been the play of Klay Thompson. Thompson has evolved from a slightly above average role player to a top 10 scorer in the league that's been shooting the lights out.

For the season. Thompson has been on fire, shooting 45.1% from beyond the arc, making 3-3pointers per game, shooting 87% from the free throw line and averaging 21.2 points per game.

It seems like every big shot the Thompson has taken this season, he's converted. This has taken a bit of pressure off of team leader, Stephen Curry, and has enabled the Warriors to take the next step in being a championship contender. Thompson isn't going to give the Warriors 40 points in a game, but more importantly, he will consistently provide a minimum of 20 points per game while helping out on the boards and being an intelligent passer.

Another player on the Warriors who has elevated his game as of late has been forward Draymond Green. Green always seems to be where the ball is and although his numbers might not show it, he's made huge contributions this season. For the season, he's averaging slightly above 13 points and 7 rebounds per game, but Green has been hot as December has arrived.

In the month of December, he's averaging 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. This is a player that's a great defender and possibly the most active player on the court.

The play of Thompson and Green has made the Golden State Warriors unstoppable and the Rockets really need James Harden in this game or they'll have no chance to win.

 

James Harden
Everyone knows the offense and defense that James Harden brings to the table. He's averaging 25.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game. That's a lot of offense for the Rockets to make up for. Harden is also a player that's aggressive and going to see the foul line nearly 10 times per ball game. I do expect Harden to play despite the odds, but if he doesn't the Rockets will rely heavily on Trevor Ariza. Without Terrence Jones, Isaiah Canaan, Dwight Howard, and possibly James Harden, the Warriors would steam roll the Rockets.

If Harden is unable to play, Trevor Ariza (14.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.7 spg.) would be the go to guy for Houston and we would easily see a 20 point performance from Ariza for any of the prop bettors.

In his last 2 games, Ariza has seen almost 44 minutes per game while averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds per game. Although Ariza is an above average player, he's not a star and this game would be a blowout if he was the main source of offense for Houston.

 

Outcome
I like the Rockets at +11 if James Harden plays. However, when making your NBA picks keep in mind that if he doesn't play, the Warriors will cover the betting spread quite easily. Please keep an eye on Harden's status as the day progresses.

NBA Picks: Houston +11 at BetOnline if James Harden Plays or Golden State -11 if Harden is out

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