Tonight, the Orlando Magic look to play out the string as they face James Harden and the Houston Rockets. See who we like as our betting pick in this game, knowing that Orlando's lost 8 of their last 10.
Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 8:00 pm ET at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. According to NBA odds, the Rockets are an 11.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 203.
The Rockets are coming off of a strong performance on the road Sunday in a 100-98 victory over Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Griffin came back to the lineup, but it's quite evident that he'll need to get some games under his belt before the playoffs begin. Needless to say to say, it was a good win for Houston as they good beat a good Clippers ball club on the road as James Harden had 34 points and Terrence Jones was a terror on the boards with 12 rebounds.
A major possibility in tonight's game is the blowout factor. The Rockets could possibly put the Magic away before the fourth quarter and we could see the the Rockets starters sitting.
When forming my NBA picks, I want to start from a "different angle" as I watched Corey Brewer, about a week ago, come into a game against the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center and lead the Rockets almost all the way back from a huge deficit without the help of James Harden.
I don't think that Harden cares about MVP Trophy's like Lebron James does. Harden has been battling some injuries and can definitely use the assistance as he's known for being a one man team. Guys like Corey Brewer and Terrence Jones have been really stepping up their games of late and this bodes well for Houston.
Brewer, who comes off the bench, is averaging 18.8 points and 3.8 rebounds on 55% shooting from the field in his last 5 games. He will play a major role if the Rockets are to go deep into the playoffs. This is a guy that can take matters into his own hands. As for Terrence Jones, he's a starter and is basically doing the work that Dwight Howard would be doing. In his last 10 games, Jones is averaging 16.6 points and 9.7 rebounds. We like to focus in on James Harden, but it's players like Brewer and Jones who can are key to Houston being a contender.
Vucevic is Back
While we know that Nikola Vucevic is back to putting up his usual huge numbers, this has allowed players like Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris to play a larger role as the Magic are a young team with a lot of talent. While Oladipo and Harris get most of the credit, Elfrid Payton has been a flatout beast and the 10th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft has appeared to be a winner for the Magic in the long term.
Payton is coming off of a near triple double in a loss to the Cavs, but has really stepped his game up in a major way in his last 5 games. In these 5 games, he's done it all, averaging 16 points, 7.4 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game. Payton has great size and is just 21 years old. Orlando is a team of the future with a lot of studs already contributing.
While Orlando is a team of the future, they're not a team of the present and James Harden can basically win a game by himself if need be. Look for Houston to cover the spread in this game as it's simply not the Magic's time to shine yet.
NBA Pick- Houston -11.5 at 5 Dimes