Houston Rockets (31-11 SU, 26-16 ATS, 24-18 O/U) vs. Brooklyn Nets (8-31 SU, 18-19-2 ATS, 21-17-1 O/U)
NBA: Sunday, January 15, 2017, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, 6 pm ET
Line: Houston -12.5; Over/Under: 231.5
It’s an inter-conference tilt in the Big Apple between a couple of teams looking to put together some wins. The Houston Rockets continue their road trip with a stop out east as they face the league’s worst team in the Brooklyn Nets Sunday evening. Houston lost their second straight as they were clipped 110-105 at home against Memphis Friday. Brooklyn lost their ninth in a row with a 132-113 road loss to the Raptors in an Atlantic Division matchup Friday night. Houston has a commanding 59-30 edge in the all-time regular season series and has won 17 of the last 20 meetings. That includes a 122-118 home win in the first matchup this year on December 12, 2016.
Houston Rockets Look to Get On Track
Houston has dropped two straight games but the Rockets hope to get healthy by facing the league’s doormat. The Rockets led by six after one quarter and a 13 point edge at halftime before fatigue set in. Houston was outscored 59-41 in the second half of the game, including 27-20 in the fourth quarter to end up losing. The Rockets continue to play with a smaller lineup as Clint Capela continues to recover from a fractured fibula: he hopes to resume practicing next week. The Rockets shot just 40.2 percent from the floor, including a ghastly 10 of 41 from three point range. Houston took a 45-31 beating on the glass while allowing Memphis to shoot 53.9 percent from the floor. That overshadowed Houston forcing 22 turnovers. James Harden had 27 points and nine assists to lead the Rockets.
The Rockets are well above average offensively: they are 2nd in the league with 114.3 points per game. Houston is 12th in rebounding with 44.1 boards per game and 2nd with 25.6 assists a night. The Rockets are 24th in scoring defense as they allow 107.5 points per game. James Harden leads the team with 28.6 points per game while grabbing 8.2 boards and dishing out 11.7 assists a night. Eric Gordon is putting up 17.7 points per contest while Trevor Ariza (12.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.98 steals) and Ryan Anderson (14 ppg, 5.1 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 6th in the league in field goal percentage, shooting 46.8 percent as a team. Houston is leading the league with 14.8 threes a night while the team is tied for 7th by shooting 37.2 percent from long range this season.
Brooklyn Nets Try to Avoid Double Digit Losing Streak
Brooklyn has lost nine straight as they played well for three quarters against Atlantic Division leading Toronto. Unfortunately, in the fourth quarter after trailing by just one, the Nets were outscored 42-24 to get blown out. Brooklyn allowed Toronto to set a franchise record for points in a regulation contest. The Nets shot 46.5 percent from the field in the game but allowed the Raptors to shoot 53.7 percent from the floor. Brooklyn banged in 17 of their 36 three point attempts in the contest but lost the rebounding battle 49-35. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Nets with 23 points in the loss.
The Nets are 17th in the league in scoring offense with 105.1 points per game. Brooklyn is 11th in the league on the glass by collecting 44.2 rebounds per game. The Nets are 22nd in the league in assists with 21 dimes per contest. Brooklyn is last in the league in scoring defense as they allow 114.3 points a game. Brook Lopez is good for a team leading 20.1 points a night while Sean Kilpatrick chips in 14.6 points per game from the backcourt. Bojan Bogdanovic kicks in 14.2 points plus 3.3 boards per game while Jeremy Lin averages 13.9 points and 5.8 assists per contest. Lin is out again after suffering his second hamstring injury of the season. Joe Harris (8.7 points), Trevor Booker (9.8 points, nine rebounds), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Luis Scola and Justin Hamilton are key pieces in the rotation as well. Rookie Isaiah Whitehead has gotten a good chunk of minutes at point guard for Brooklyn. The Nets are tied for 23rd in the league by shooting 43.9 percent from the floor. Brooklyn is 5th by sinking 11.1 triples per contest. The Nets are tied for 26th in the league in three point shooting as they shoot 33.9 percent from long range.
- Rockets are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up loss
- Rockets are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400
- Rockets are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games following a ATS loss
- Nets are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
- Nets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- Nets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 1 day of rest
This one screams mismatch as the Rockets are one of the league’s most prolific offensive attacks while the Nets are the league’s worst at stopping opposing teams. We saw how a similar matchup worked Friday night when the Raptors set their franchise mark for points in a regulation contest. That’s not a heartwarming thing to hang your hat on as a Nets fan. Houston is thrilled to have a day off in between games and it pays off. The Rockets put up a truckload of points and pick up the win in this one.
Pick: Houston Rockets -12.5
The Rockets have struggled in their last two games as they fell to Minnesota and Memphis. It makes it easy to forget that the Rockets had won nine straight games before that. Six games in nine days is going to take a toll on even the deepest of teams, not to mention a Houston team that was banged up a bit in their rotation. The Nets can’t stop anyone, as evidenced by a nine game skid and the fact that they are the league’s worst team at this point in time.
Houston has gone over the total in six of their last seven when their opponent scored at least 100 points in their last game. In addition, the over is 5-1 in Houston’s last six road games, in four of their last five against the Atlantic Division and in 10 of their last 13 overall. The over has gone 3-1-1 in the Nets’ last five on Sunday and 15-6 in their last 21 games after a double digit straight up loss. Given Houston’s ability to score and Brooklyn’s inability to stop anyone, you have to think that the over is in play, even with an inflated total.