Dallas Mavericks (1-0) at Houston Rockets (1-0)
“Howard Wrong For Going to Rockets”
These are the words that came out of Dallas owner Marc Cuban’s mouth and apparently he wants to create some bulletin boards material for the big man out of Atlanta, Georgia. In my estimation, Los Angeles was the wrong place for Howard. He took a tremendous amount of daily criticism, the pressure was high, and he simply couldn’t co-exist with the legendary Kobe Bryant.
In Houston, you have a bunch of young upstarts with no ego. James Harden is the main option offensively, but Harden has been a 6th man and is not nearly as selfish as Bryant. The pressure is off and the opportunity is there for D-12 as he’s backed up by Omer Asik, who could pretty much start for any other basketball team.
Game 1 of the season proved that Dwight Howard could excel on the Rockets as the Rockets beat Charlotte quite easily and Howard produced 17 points and 26 rebounds in this game; Houston is a great fit.
Worry About Your Own Team!
Although this is an aging group of players, Dallas proved that they were up for the task in the opener as they defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 118-109. The Mavericks shot 57% from the field and Monta Ellis led the way with 32 points and 8 assists. Dirk Nowitzki, who is now healthy, chipped in with 24 points.
This matchup should be dead even except for one position and that’s center. Samuel Dalembert isn’t nearly in D-12’s class and looked for Howard to make Marc Cuban eat his words tonight with a victory in Houston. That said, the point spread is a bit high at 6.5. Look for a shootout and take the OVER.
Free Pick- Dallas/Houston OVER 204.5 at Bet 365
OKC Are Dogs?
The point spread is the thing that really sticks out here as the Thunder are a 2.5 point NBA odds underdog on the road against an average team with its big star in Kevin Love back in the lineup. This game should be called the battle of the Kevins.
It was business as usual for Kevin Durant in his 1st game of the season as he proceeded to score 42 points at Utah to defeat the Jazz 101-98. In this game, Durant managed to go to the free throw line an astonishing 24 times and convert on 22 of those opportunities. This is a player that can win a game by himself and is possibly the best pure scorer in the game today.
The reason that the Thunder are underdogs in this game is because superstar Russell Westbrook won’t be back from his knee injury until December. We saw how the loss of Westbrook hurt the Thunder in the playoffs and we’ll have to see how they start off the season. Guards Reggie Jackson and Thabo Sefalosha each stepped up their games in the opener with 14 points apiece and they could be the deciding factor as Ibaka is a “defense first” type of player.
Love is Back
Kevin Love made a successful return in a 120-115 win in overtime over the Orlando Magic and gave the T-Wolves all the support that they needed with 31 points and 17 rebounds. Love has proven in the past to be one of the most underrated players in the NBA, but people have quickly figured out that he’s a big-time superstar that can stuff the statsheets with positive numbers.
As I stated earlier, this game could come down to guard play. Ricky Rubio has the ability to be a game changer as he can do it all. On the negative side of that, Rubio can be inconsistent at times and fail to look for his offense.
I’m going to stick with Kevin Durant until he proves me wrong and take the points for my NBA picks, in what should be a tight game.
Free Pick- Oklahoma City +2.5 at Bet 365
Good luck, everyone!