The Houston Rockets caught a couple of breaks on the last day of the regular season and ended up as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. As a result, instead of having to open on the road or face a tougher opponent, they’ll square off with the disjointed Dallas Mavericks. Houston is favored for Game 1 on the NBA betting lines.
The Dallas Mavericks can win because…
They head to the playoffs with some momentum. The Mavericks ended up winning four of their last five games heading into the postseason, which is a good sign for a team that has looked discombobulated since they acquired Rajon Rondo. Their offense has kicked it into high gear as they scored 107 against Phoenix, 144 against Denver, 120 against Los Angeles and 114 against Portland. That’s a nice little stretch. For what it’s worth, the Dallas Mavericks led the NBA in scoring in the month of April, averaging 115.4 points per game. Houston was not a particularly strong defensive team this season as they allowed 100.5 points per game this season, which was 17th in the NBA.
The other key factor for Game 1 here is that the Rockets are banged up. They won’t have Patrick Beverly, who is out, and center Dwight Howard is limited in terms of minutes. The team will also be without power forward Donatas Motiejunas.
Dallas has a shot here. Houston is a soft No. 2 seed and if Dallas gets it together, they could steal Game 1.
The Houston Rockets can win because…
The Mavericks are not a very good team. Yes, they won four of five to end the year and yes, their offense has played well in April, but take a look at who they’ve played. Not a single win against a quality opponent other than Portland, who was resting players on the last game of the season.
The fact of the matter is Dallas is a mess. The Rondo trade didn’t work out and he wants to get the hell out of there as soon as possible. They’ll get Chandler Parsons back for Game 1 of this series but what’s his health level? And beyond that, how are the Mavericks going to fix their defensive deficiencies. They ranked 25th in the NBA in points allowed per game (102.3), which means Houston should have a field day. The Rockets feast on bad defensive teams, going 19-5 this season against opponents that allow 99 points per game or more.
Houston has won three of four meetings this season and head to the playoffs with plenty momentum. They have won three straight and 14 of their last 18 games. They are the better choice for your NBA picks here.
The Rockets are laying a small number on the NBA betting odds and they’re the play. They have more momentum, they’re at home and they typically roll up bad defensive teams. Lay the points here with them.
NBA Pick: Rockets -5.5 at Bodog