The Houston Rockets are favored by the NBA odds in Game 2, as they easily disposed of the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1. The question is whether or not the Mavericks will punch back in Game 2.
The Dallas Mavericks Can Win Because…
The free throw gap won’t be as wide between the teams in Game 2. The Mavericks committed just six more fouls than the Rockets in Game 1 but Houston ended up shooting 45 free throws for the game compared to just 17 for the Mavs. That resulted in 18 more points for Houston and they won the game by just 10. Other than that, the Mavericks seemed to do everything else pretty well. They had the edge in rebounds (49-44), they shot a similar percentage from the field (44.4% vs 44.7%) and they outscored Houston in the paint (58-50). If they can find a way to defend with more discipline, they are going to be in this game until the end.
The other key factor here is that the Mavericks were able to contain James Harden. He scored 24 points but he didn’t go bananas. As long as they can keep him in that range, they are going to have a chance to win. And if they can get a little bit more efficiency from Chandler Parsons, Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis, who combined to shoot 17-of-40, they’ll have a great chance to steal Game 2.
The Houston Rockets Can Win Because…
They’re the better team and they showed it. NBA odds are favoring them by 5.5 points. The Rockets were great in Game 1 and it wasn’t solely the James Harden show. Dwight Howard had 11 points, five rebounds and five blocks. Terrence Jones had 19, Jason Terry had 16, Corey Brewer had 15 and Trevor Ariza had 12. In total, seven different players hit double figures.
Dallas is just a disjointed team these days and it’s clear from watching them. Rajon Rondo is a good player but doesn’t fit. He was a -25 in just 27 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Monta Ellis continues to be a volume shooter who is a liability on defense. He went five-of-16 from the field. Dallas hung around but they weren’t really a threat in this one. They entered the game with the 25th-ranked defense in the NBA and they had no answers for the Rockets, who easily got to 118 points. It’s hard to imagine anything really being different in Game 2.
It seems like Mark Cuban fired up the Rockets, deciding to trash them right before Game 1 for some reason. He said that Harden is the clear MVP because he doesn’t have a real team around him. As a result, they came out and made a point of it to take it to the Mavericks. Harden only had 24 while the rest of his teammates did plenty of damage. Expect more of the same in Game 2 as the Mavericks defense is still the biggest problem for them in this series. Take the Rockets with your NBA picks again.
NBA Pick: Rockets at Pinnacle