NBA Picks: Warriors vs. Rockets

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 3:10 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 3:10 PM GMT

The Houston Rockets play host to the Golden State Warriors tonight, as both teams look to improve their standings in the Western Conference. When it comes to placing your sports picks, which team can be trusted to cover the spread?

With the exception of the Lakers heading into Brooklyn tonight for the first time, the Warriors and Rockets should be the best and most entertaining game of Tuesday evening. Both teams have been playing good basketball, and both look like threats to the establishment in the Western Conference.

[gameodds]5/217222/43/us[/gameodds]

The NBA Odds for this one favor the Rockets by -2 ½ at home, with a huge total of 216 ½ points. While the total might look tempting to many sports bettors, we have decided to stick with the spread tonight.

Which team should we back with our NBA Picks for this shorter Tuesday, and why have we chosen to stick with the spread?

Presence in the paint

What has separated the Warriors from being a good to a great team has been their lack of paint presence. As good as David Lee is, he is not much on the defensive end of the floor. He can rebound with the best of them, but Lee does not block shots, and is not much more than a big body rotating to the open man on defense.

However, paired with Andrew Bogut, one of the NBA’s elite shot blockers and rebounders, Lee’s (and the Warriors’ as a whole for the most part) shortcomings on the defensive end almost vanish.

In just three games played this season, Bogut has blocked 10 shots. That was also in less than 75 minutes for those three games. If you turn that average into 36 minutes a game, that’s over 4.5 blocks per game. I’m not saying Bogut is going to do that, but when he is in the game, Andrew Bogut can swat shots as well as Dwight Howard, Serge Ibaka and Larry Sanders.

Tonight, Bogut and Lee both will have a huge role, which is keeping Omer Asik out of the paint. Even though he plays less than 30 minutes a game, Asik is averaging almost 11.5 rebounds per game. Plus, in his last four games, Asik has had 15 rebounds or more, averaging out to 17 boards per in his last four games.

Can’t find Robin

Like the Warriors’ lack of presence in the paint, what is separating the Rockets from being a great team is their lack of a steady #2 option behind James Harden. Harden is putting up career numbers due to his new team. Even though Houston has five other guys that average double figures in scoring, they can’t get any of those guys to show up every night consistently. 

Chandler Parsons is almost there, but he still is not consistent enough from behind the arc, much like Jeremy Lin. Lin is a work in progress, people. He is and is going to be very good, but he needs time to develop his three-point shot more, but he isn’t up to the task this season either. However, I think the Rockets are banking on him being that #2 option. 

With that being said, the Warriors have plenty of guys they can throw at Harden tonight, but every other position for the Warriors has the advantage. Harden will get his, but I think the Warriors have this one covered.

Check out my NBA Picks: Tuesday Night Value Picks for more free plays.

The Sharp Pick 

Golden State has been a solid road team this season, going 14-9-2 ATS away from Oakland. They also have covered two of their last three games against the Rockets, although these two have yet to meet this season. Although the Warriors have almost no success playing on the road in Houston, those were very different Warriors teams. This Warriors team will defend well enough to get the cover tonight. 

My Pick: Warriors +2.5

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