Cleveland Cavaliers (5-6 SU, 2-8-1 ATS, 7-4 O/U) vs. Houston Rockets (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS, 5-6 O/U)
NBA: Thursday, November 9, 2017, Toyota Center, Houston, Texas, 8 pm ET
Line: Houston -5.5; Over/Under: 229.5
It’s an inter-conference matchup of heavyweights down in the Lone Star State. The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the road as they take on the Houston Rockets Thursday night. Cleveland had lost five of six before turning back the Bucks 124-119 at home Tuesday night. Houston has won three straight after bombing the Jazz 137-110 at home Sunday night in their most recent action. The Rockets hold an 83-44 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the teams: they split two meetings last season, each winning at home.
Cleveland Cavaliers Seek to Return to .500 Mark
Cleveland managed to get back in the win column after losing five of six games. The Cavaliers’ defense still has been mediocre as they had to put up 124 points to get a win over the Bucks. Cleveland led by 11 after one quarter but trailed by two at the half before reasserting control in the second half. The Cavaliers shot 50 percent from the field and knocked down nine of 18 three point attempts. Free throw shooting made the difference in this one as Milwaukee shot 56.6 percent from the floor: Cleveland hit 33 of 38 at the line while Milwaukee was 12 of 16. Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with 32 points and 16 rebounds in the win.
The Cavaliers are tied for 5th in the league in scoring last season with 109.9 points per game. Cleveland is 22nd in rebounding with 42.1 caroms a night while the team stands 19th with 21.5 assists per contest. The Cavaliers are below average defensively, ranking 28th in scoring defense by allowing 113.9 points per game. LeBron James averages a team-high 28.9 points while collecting 7.3 boards and dishing 9.1 assists per game while Kevin Love is good for 17.6 points plus 10.8 boards per contest while Derrick Rose is chipping in 14.3 points a night. Jeff Green averages 9.5 points per contest. J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver (10.5 points), Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder and Tristan Thompson are some of the rotation guys that can step up and have a big game. Cleveland is tied for 4th in the league by shooting 47.4 percent from the field. The Cavaliers are tied for 16th in the league in made threes with 10.1 triples a night while ranking 19th in three point shooting by shooting 34.4 percent from downtown.
Houston Rockets Look to Keep Rolling
Houston won their third straight as their perimeter shooting was on against the Jazz. The Rockets have had three days to rest before this contest as well. Houston jumped to an 11 point lead after the first quarter and built on it from there, putting the game away with a 48-36 bulge in the third quarter. The Rockets shot a blistering 59.3 percent from the floor in the contest and drilled 23 of 39 three point attempts in the win. Houston won the rebounding battle as well, 42-33, to help overcome 21 turnovers. James Harden had a career-high 56 points to go with 13 assists in the win.
The Rockets are average offensively: they are tied for 5th in the league with 109.9 points per game. Houston is 15th in rebounding with 43.7 boards per game and 14th with 22 assists a night. The Rockets are 9th in scoring defense as they allow 103.3 points per game. James Harden leads the team with 29.5 points per game while grabbing 4.4 boards and dishing out 9.7 assists a night. Eric Gordon is putting up 23.1 points per contest while Clint Capela averages 12.7 points plus 10.6 rebounds a night. PJ Tucker and Ryan Anderson (12.5 points, 5.6 rebounds) each are key secondary options this season. Nene Hilario, Trevor Ariza, Chris Paul and Luc Mbah a Moute are key pieces in the rotation as well. Paul is out currently with a bruised knee and is expected to miss two to four weeks: the team signed Isaiah Canaan for depth while he’s out. Paul was seen shooting at practice Saturday but still is projected to be weeks off. The Rockets are tied for 13th in the league in field goal percentage, shooting 45.7 percent as a team. Houston is 1st in the league with 15.1 threes a night while the team is 22nd by shooting 33.9 percent from long range this season.
- Cavaliers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
- Cavaliers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall
- Cavaliers are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 vs. NBA Southwest
- Rockets are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 3 or more days rest
- Rockets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
- Rockets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
Cleveland has to be happy that they picked up a win over the Bucks but giving up 119 points is not the kind of defensive performance you’d like to see. In fact, the Cavaliers’ last two wins saw them give up 122 and 119 points, respectively. They also have to face a rested Rockets team who scorched the nets of the Toyota Center against the Jazz their last time out. Houston is playing well and when the perimeter shots are falling, it doesn’t matter who they are playing: give the points and take Houston at home as Cleveland’s defense struggles again.
Both teams are tied for fifth in the league in scoring offense and there is no shortage of talented players that can put points on the board. James and Harden both went over the 50 point plateau in the last week. Love, Rose and Gordon are all fully capable of hitting shots from the perimeter and making life difficult for opposing defenders to guard. The difference here may be the rest factor: Cleveland played a tough up and down game Tuesday night while Houston has had three days off since their dismantling of the Jazz.
The over is 5-0 in the Cavaliers’ last 5 vs. Western Conference foes, 5-1 in their last 6 road games and 4-1 in their last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game. Houston has seen the over go 4-0 in their last 4 overall, 4-0 in their last 4 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game and 4-0 in their last 4 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game. This one likely goes over the total, especially with Cleveland’s shoddy defense.