Here's our NBA pick for tonight's match between the Houston Rockets, who have hit a bit of a snag, losing their last 2 games, and the 2nd best team in the Western Conference: Portland Trail Blazers.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Currently, Houston is a 3.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 198.5. NBA Odds makers feel that home court advantage will play a role in this game but I'm not so sure as the Blazers are 10-4 on the road.
The Aldridge Express
All that Portland players and coaches need to do is hop aboard the Aldridge Express because it's a one way ticket to Winnersville. All joking aside, LeMarcus Aldridge has been a beast as of late and there's nobody on the Rockets roster, including Dwight Howard, that can stop him.
Howard has the size, but we're learning after his stint with Orlando, that he's not the player that we all thought that he was and LaMarcus Aldridge is certainly the real deal.
Aldridge was already a 20-10 player, but has actually stepped up his game as of late. In the month of December, he's averaging 24.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. LaMarcus Aldridge is playing the best basketball of his career and it's indicative in the Blazers overall record. In my opinion, the Blazers getting 3.5 points in this game is a gift when they have an unstoppable force such as LaMarcus Aldridge.
Let's not forget the play of point guard, Damian Lillard. He's coming off of a 17 point, 7 assist performance against New Orleans and he's still averaging 26 points, 6 assists, and 4.4 rebounds in his last 5 games.
Lillard can shoot the lights out and is shooting near 90% from the line. Along with Russell Westbrook, Lillard is one of the best point guards in the NBA and along with LaMarcus Aldridge, make one of the best 1-2 combinations in the game today. Houston will have their hands full when facing this duo tonight at the Toyota Center.
The Bearded Beast
If Oklahoma City only knew how good that James Harden was when he was a 6th man on their squad, they would've offered him much more money. I don't know if he would've taken it because Harden definitely likes to be "the man" on any team that he plays on.
He's not going to provide shooting efficiency, but he provides massive production offensively with his ability to drive the hoop at the drop of a dime. I always call him the locomotive because he doesn't make it look pretty, but Harden will get to the basket and makes no bones about it. Nobody seems to be able to stop him as he's constantly drawing fouls and isn't one of the biggest players on the court. Look for Harden to have a huge game here, Portland's style of play is taylor made for the native of Los Angeles, California.
I'm coming to the realization that Dwight Howard has lost that edge that made him so great with Orlando. On the Lakers, Kobe was the man and now on Houston, Harden is the man, but D-12 doesn't seem to mind as he's the perfect unselfish, complimentary player to play along with Harden. He's averaging 19.6 points and 11.9 rebounds per game on the season. He'll provide more opportunities for the Houston offense and with Robin Lopez out of the lineup for the Blazers, he should dominate at the center position.
Houston seems unstoppable and is playing at home, but I can't fade Aldridge and Lillard the way that they have been playing lately. Take the Blazers and the points for you NBA picks today.
Free NBA Pick: Portland +3.5 at 5 Dimes