NBA Picks & Predictions for Rockets vs. Suns

Jordan Sharp

Sunday, February 23, 2014 4:22 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 4:22 PM GMT

One of the final games of this Sunday evening could end up a first round playoff matchup. The Rockets head into Phoenix to play the Suns, and the NBA Odds have them as -2 road favorites, with a total of 213.

These odds were late breaking this morning due to one of Houston’s stars being injured, however these NBA Odds should tell you that he looks good to go.

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Harden out there

James Harden hyperextended his right elbow recently, however word out of Houston is that he practiced yesterday, and looks to be good to go for tonight’s contest in the desert. However an injured elbow is still concerning, and as -2 road favorites, the Rockets look questionable tonight on the spread.

Dwight Howard will almost certainly have a big game against Phoenix’s lax interior defense. Over the last several weeks, Howard has been playing very well, but one of the reasons he has been very good is the attention Harden gets on the perimeter. If Harden is less than 100%, the Rockets are going to have a very hard time hitting peak value tonight, and I think that will lead to the Suns being undervalued tonight at +2.

The Suns are 6-4 ATS this season when playing as home underdogs, and even though Patrick Beverley is a very good defender, Goran Dragic has been playing outstanding basketball. Plus I still think it’s hilarious that the Rockets had Dragic and then let him go. That should lead to some extra fuel for the Dragon tonight, and I see Phoenix being the play because of it.

The Sharp Pick

The Suns have been good at home this season, going 16-10-2 ATS, and 11-6-1 ATS at home against conference opponents. These two teams have played twice so far this season, and they have split the series ATS. However both of those games were in Houston. This is the first time they have played one another in the desert.

Even though I don’t think it means much, the Suns have dominated the recent series between these two teams. In their last eight games against the Rockets, the Suns are 6-2 ATS. Furthermore, the Suns have continued to play well after the All Star Break, something that has surprised some people. They have obviously been playing above their talent level, but the Suns are 3-0 after the All Star Break, and they have averaged over 106 points per game in those three games, while giving up only 95 per. With the play of Dragic, and the possibility of a Eric Bledsoe return, this team looks poised for a playoff berth.

However even though this is an even matchup on paper, the injury to Harden really tips the scales for me. Even though it was reported that he is ready to go tonight, and even though it is his right, non-shooting elbow, it could have a negative affect on his game still. Dribbling might be difficult, which will make the pick and roll very difficult, and even though it’s his non- shooting elbow, he still needs two arms to shoot the ball.

If the Rockets try and run on the Suns, Phoenix will have no problem staying with the Rockets, so either way this game goes, I see the Suns as the play for our Sunday NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Suns +2

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