Houston Rockets (29-9 SU, 25-13 ATS, 21-17 O/U) vs. Toronto Raptors (24-11 SU, 22-12-1 ATS, 22-13 O/U)
NBA: Sunday, January 8, 2017, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, 6 pm ET
Line: Houston -2; Over/Under: 224.5
It’s an inter-conference battle between a pair of teams that have had a lot of success this season north of the border. The Houston Rockets travel to face the Toronto Raptors Sunday evening. Houston reeled off a seventh straight victory as they beat the Magic 100-93 on the road Friday night. Toronto was in action in the Windy City Saturday night as they faced the Bulls. Houston holds a 24-18 advantage in the all-time regular season series. The Raptors claimed a 115-102 road win in the first meeting between the teams this season on November 23, 2016.
Houston Rockets Try For Eight Straight Wins
Houston won games on back to back nights as they edged Oklahoma City Thursday before heading to Orlando and defeating the Magic. The Rockets erased an eight point halftime deficit by outscoring the Suns 35-23 in the third quarter before holding serve the rest of the way. Houston hit 45.3 percent from the field in the contest and knocked down 15 three pointers, though it took them 49 attempts. The three point shooting proved to be the difference as Orlando connected on eight of 23 attempts in the contest. Ryan Anderson had 19 points to lead the Rockets, with all of them coming in the second half.
The Rockets are well above average offensively: they are 2nd in the league with 114.3 points per game. Houston is 8th in rebounding with 44.9 boards per game and 2nd with 25.8 assists a night. The Rockets are 24th in scoring defense as they allow 106.6 points per game. James Harden leads the team with 27.9 points per game while grabbing 8.2 boards and dishing out 11.9 assists a night. Eric Gordon is putting up 17.8 points per contest while Trevor Ariza (12.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.08 steals) and Ryan Anderson (14.2 ppg, 5.3 rebounds) are scoring in double figures. Nene Hilario, Clint Capela (11.8 points, eight rebounds, 1.57 blocks), Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker and Corey Brewer are key contributors. The Rockets are 5th in the league in field goal percentage, shooting 46.9 percent as a team. Houston is leading the league with 15 threes a night while the team is 6th by shooting 37.6 percent from long range this season.
Toronto Raptors Go For Season Sweep of Rockets
Toronto was in action on the road Saturday in Chicago as they attempted to win their third game in the last four. The Raptors entered Saturday second in the Eastern Conference, three games behind the Cavaliers for the top spot. Toronto did hold the Atlantic Division lead as they were 2.5 games ahead of the Celtics in that category. The Raptors are solidly in the playoff picture as they hold a seven game edge over ninth-place Washington in the standings. Toronto has posted a 12-5 record at home and has gone 11-7 against the Western Conference this season.
The Raptors come into this one 3rd in the league by averaging 110 points per game. Toronto is having their struggles on the glass, ranking 23rd with 42.7 boards per game. The Raptors are 28th in the league in assists with 19.2 dimes a night. Toronto is 10th in scoring defense as they give up 103.1 points per game. DeMar DeRozan leads Toronto with 27.4 points plus 5.1 boards per contest. Jonas Valanciunas is averaging 12 points plus 9.6 boards per contest. Kyle Lowry is the floor general for the Raptors and he contributes with 22.5 points plus seven assists and 1.49 steals per game. Toronto gets solid production from bench guys like Terrence Ross (11 points), DeMarre Carroll (9.3 points), Cory Joseph, Patrick Patterson and Jakob Poeltl. The Raptors are 6th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 46.7 percent from the field. Toronto is tied for 12th in the league by sinking 9.5 three pointers per game. The Raptors are 2nd in the league in three point shooting as they hit 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.
- Rockets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Rockets are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 road games
- Raptors are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 Sunday games
This one is a matchup of a pair of very good teams and is probably the highlight of the schedule Sunday. The Rockets have been rolling as they are bombing away from the outside. Houston has averaged 16.3 triples a game in their last nine after being held to a season low six threes by the Spurs back on December 20. That’s a lot of points from outside shooting. Toronto is a high octane offense as well but the Raptors are playing the second game of a back to back here. That may take a bit of a toll, especially having to fly back after facing Chicago, coupled with an earlier than normal tipoff. Give the bucket and take the Rockets as they win their eighth straight.
Houston Rockets -2
Houston has been rolling along as they are one of the league’s best offensive units. The Rockets get plenty done with the perimeter shot as they knock down more triples than anyone else in the league. In this one, they get a Toronto team that is pretty prolific percentage wise from the outside and that boasts a high octane offense. The Raptors are playing the second game of a back to back here so that’s something to watch out for. The over has hit in is four of the Houston’s last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record and seven of their last nine overall. Toronto has gone over the total in 10 of their last 12 against opponents with a winning percentage greater than .600 and in nine of their last 12 at home. The over has come up in five of the last seven meetings between the teams. When two of the league’s top three offensive units meet up, you have to expect a point bonanza. That means the over is in play here.