Logic and the NBA odds are showing we should be in for a treat tonight, as it's not just that bragging rights are up for grabs in Texas when the Rockets and Mavericks meet up.
Despite being the road team on this occasion, the Mavericks are favored by three points on NBA odds in Houston tonight.
We shouldn't be surprised to see a total over 200 points for tonight, and oddsmakers have obliged with a current O/U of 201. The number was as high as 203 at one point, but has since been wagered down.
On the grand scheme of things, the Rockets have been impressive early on this season. They currently hold a 9-3 overall record.
That being said, they've been a little more shaky of late, having dropped two straight games ahead of tonight's home date with the Mavericks. They got destroyed on the road by the Grizzlies and then followed that up by losing at home to the Lakers. Not the best two-game stretch from James Harden and company.
Of course, playing without your best big man in Dwight Howard never helps, as Dwight Howard sat with a strained right knee. That put even more responsbility on the shoulders of James Harden, who had 24 points, seven assists and four rebounds in the loss.
Elsewhere, Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza and Kostas Papanikolaou all scored in double figures, with Houston hitting 40.5 percent from the field overall. The Rockets hit 15 threes, yet they were outmuscled inside without Howard out there. They also had a lot of trouble stopping Kobe Bryant from doing whatever he wanted on the floor.
Houston can't be pleased at all with that effort against one of the NBA's worst teams. Now the Rockets get a chance to right the ship against one of the league's best in Dallas. Will they show up?
Talk about a team that's doing things the right way.
It's been a terrific start for the Mavericks, who check in at 10-3 overall. They've won six straight games coming into tonight's contest and have been dominant in a lot of those wins.
That includes last night's demolition of the Lakers, a game they won 140-106. Dallas was able to do whatever they wanted offensively - they shot a ridiculous 62.2 percent from the floor (51-of-82) and 51.4 percent from three (18-of-35), with eight different players scoring at least 10 points apiece.
Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points, Chandler Parsons went for 21, and Monta Ellis had 20 points and 10 assists. Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Al-Farouq Aminu and J.J. Barea put up double figures in scoring as well, as the Lakers were absolutely putrid on the defensive end of the floor.
Since the Mavericks were able to wrap up their win over LA early, we're not worried about them playing on a back-to-back. Their best players should be nice and rested for this trip to Houston, so we're not letting that affect our NBA picks.
It's looking like Howard is doubtful for tonight's game, and it's going to be tough sledding without him on the court. We've seen what kind of impact he can have the floor for the Rockets.
Houston has really struggled this week and we expect those tough times to continue against a team that's really been looking on point lately. The Mavericks have a lot of depth and have been the NBA's most potent offensive team so far -- they're averaging a league-best 111.3 points per contest.
Dallas will be able to key in on Harden throughout tonight's game, and we just don't think Houston's star playmaker will be able to do it all on his own. Look for Dallas to come in and get the job done, utilizing their superior depth (and taking advantage of Howard's absence) to get the win and ATS cover.
Free NBA Pick: Mavericks -3 at BookMaker