NBA Picks: Rockets +4 to Return to the Winner's Circle Tonight Against Clippers

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, May 8, 2015 2:26 PM UTC

Friday, May. 8, 2015 2:26 PM UTC

It's the third meeting between the Rockets and Clippers, and so far the Clippers have shown they can dominate the Rockets with or without Chris Paul. Let's take a look at the lines offered tonight before we go placing our NBA picks. 

Houston Rockets vs. LA Clippers 10:30 ET ESPN
The venue changes to Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 3 of the Round 2, best of 7 series, between the Rockets and the Clippers.  The series is tied at 1 game apiece following Houston’s 115-109 win on their home court Wednesday night.  In that game, the Clippers took the floor for consecutive times without PG Chris Paul, who is suffering with this ailing hamstring.  Though Paul remains questionable for tonight’s game, my personal opinion is that he will play, though with some limited capability.  Stepping up in Paul’s absence has been Griffin, who in Game 1 led 6 double digit scorers for the Clippers with 26 points, 14 boards and 13 assists.  On Wednesday, his production increased to 34 points, 15 boards and 4 assists.  Jordan again controlled the interior with 16 points and 12 boards, while 6th man Crawford turned in a solid all-around performance with a 19/5/5 night.  The stars also shone, as expected, for Houston.  Harden netted 32 points and dished out 7 assists, while Howard had 24 points and 16 boards.  Ariza complimented the duo with a 15/13 night.

No doubt the Clippers are looking to “zig-zag” their way to victory in Game 3 of this series as they return home after a 2 game split in Texas. But, the home court is a mediocre 32-13 SU, while the Rockets have been solid on road with a 27-16 SU mark.  Wild card in this game is obviously the health and ability of Chris Paul with his bulky hamstring.  My opinion is that if he plays, he will perform well under his potential.  It may also disrupt the chemistry that the Clippers have achieved in playing a pair of solid games in which they have averaged 113 PPG.  

It is incredible that Houston did not get the cover Wednesday night.  Laying 7 points, they recorded a 115-109 victory. That 6 point margin came despite the fact they outrebounded the Clippers 54-40, had their worst 3-point shooting game of the year, making only 5 of 26 attempts for 19%, and shot just 66% from the stripe, missing 22 foul shots while going 42-64 on free throw attempts.  With that rebound margin anywhere near a normal shooting percentage would have resulted in a 20 point win for the Rockets. Yet, they will remain hungry with the realization they have lost home court in this series, after their equaling appalling performance in Game 1

The Rockets are clearly the underperforming team in this series and by far the more likely to improve on their efforts. Zig-zag players will be all over the Clippers in Chris Paul’s potential return for this Game 3, home team, win and cover. In a contrary way, for our NBA picks, we will fade that thinking and take the 4+ point impost posted on the NBA odds in a contest where it will be no surprise to this bureau that Houston returns to the winner’s circle.

NBA Pick: Take Houston Rockets at GT Bets

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If you're looking for more NBA action, don't miss out on our top ATS picks for tonight!

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