The Houston Rockets are tied with the Memphis Grizzlies for the lead in the Southwest Division whilet he San Antonio Spurs are just half a game back. However, the Spurs closed the gap by crushing Houston last time out and they’re a three-point road favorite on the NBA betting lines in this spot.
The San Antonio Spurs Can Win Because…
They are on a roll and are currently the favorites on the posted NBA odds. San Antonio is the hottest team in the league, having won nine straight games. The Spurs aren’t just winning games, either; they’re rolling opponents, and often good ones. San Antonio breezed past Golden State by 15 points on Sunday. Wednesday night, the Spurs led Houston by 22 points before cruising into safe harbor with a 110-98 victory.
The biggest thing for San Antonio to be encouraged about is the play of Tony Parker. He’s still not 100 percent healthy – he has some nagging injuries – but he’s a lot closer to his old self than he was a month ago. Parker scored 27 points on Wednesday night against Houston, and he didn’t need a single three-pointer to do so, either. Parker’s combination of an effective midrange game and an ability to get into the paint proved to be too much for Houston, which will have to make adjustments in this game.
What should also encourage the Spurs: Kawhi Leonard is playing his best basketball of the season. He hit 9 of 15 shots against Houston for 20 points. He collected four steals and continued to bother opposing teams as a defender.
Manu Ginobili rediscovered his shooting stroke, hitting three of four three-point shots for the Spurs.
One other thing that might also help San Antonio: Houston center Dwight Howard is still seeing his minutes restricted after coming back from an injury, having played 22 minutes against the Spurs on Wednesday. With Howard going in and out of the lineup, it might be hard for Houston to create an even flow on offense.
The Houston Rockets Can Win Because…
They are going to be a lot better than they were against San Antonio on Wednesday night. First of all, James Harden is not going to go through a 6 of 15 shooting performance in consecutive games, especially not against the same team. San Antonio defended him well on Wednesday, but Harden is too good a player to stay under wraps. He should be better.
Terrence Jones was just 1 of 3 against San Antonio on Wednesday. Jason Terry was only 2 for 5. A number of Rockets were just not as sharp as they needed to be, and they should be sharper for this game, since Houston’s at home.
What’s also noteworthy about the Spurs is that even though they’re playing well, they don’t have all hands on deck. Tiago Splitter and Marco Belinelli did not play against Houston. If they do play here, San Antonio might have more bodies available to use… but at the cost of establishing a good rhythm on offense. Returning players might contribute in many ways, but they can also mess up the offense if it takes a lot of time for them to re-integrate.
The Spurs are unquestionably on a great run and Houston already showed us they don’t match up well. The fact that the Spurs are a three-point road favorite even though the team they’re facing is above them in the standings tells you what you need to know. Take the Spurs with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Spurs -3 at 5Dimes