New-Look Rockets Will Cover on Warriors' Banner Night

chris paul james harden

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 2:34 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 2:34 PM UTC

Welcome back to hoops season! The NBA is tipping off a week early on Tuesday, and the late game of a 2-game slate is the Houston Rockets at the Golden State Warriors. I have a huge pick on this one tonight.

New-Look Rockets

Gone is the depth that served the Rockets so well last season and in comes former Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul. Immediately this team is looking more deadly. With Paul teaming up with James Harden, the league’s newest best backcourt is going to be a problem for the Warriors defensively tonight.

There is a lot of concern in the betting world about this game being a little lower scoring than it should be, simply because it’s a new-look Rockets team. I get the concern. Paul and Harden have had only a little time to work together as teammates, and chemistry takes time in the NBA.

However, if they're attending playoff baseball games together, I think they can play basketball together!

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.@JHarden13 & @CP3 in the house! #ALCS

— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 14, 2017

Harden will likely play without the ball more than he has since coming to Houston, but that worked out well when he was playing with Russell Westbrook. I don’t think Paul will mess with Harden’s numbers. In fact, he might help make them even better. Paul is a much more willing passer, and the veteran has shown that he doesn’t need to score 20 points per game. Paul will take open shots and pick his spots to score, but it’s still the Harden show tonight, and this season.

But how will that play against the Warriors? The Dubs will raise their latest NBA title banner to the Oracle Arena rafters tonight. Paul will be needed to slow down Stephen Curry, but on the flip side, the Rockets will be tough to guard as well. As good as Klay Thompson is defensively, he is going to have trouble with Harden.


Kevin Durant Show

That means Kevin Durant is going to have to come to play. However, the Rockets have beefed up their defenses against that onslaught as well. With Trevor Ariza aging and slowing down, the Rockets went out and got P.J. Tucker. The veteran defender is likely going to get some run in this game if Ariza isn’t getting the job done defensively, but neither of them can shut down Durant. However, if they are limiting him to less than 25 points, that’s a win in my book.

The spread of +9½ really comes down to that question. The two backcourts will cancel each other out, and the Rockets have a nice advantage with Clint Capela down low. So if Draymond Green isn’t scoring 20 points and Durant is somewhat limited, the Rockets are going to cover this one.


The Sharp Pick

The Warriors were 2-1-1 ATS against the Rockets last season, but other than one blowout, the Rockets kept it close or won outright in the other three games. Plus, with a spread of +9½, they would have covered three of those four games as well.

With Paul in a Houston uniform, my assumption is the Rockets are better than they were in those four games in 2016-17. That assumption may prove to be wrong in the short term, but in the long term I know it’s right. Either way, take the points..

Free NBA Pick: Rockets +9½Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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