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When and where: February 11, 2019, Toyota Center, Houston, TX, 8:00 PM ET
The Houston Rockets will try to avoid back-to-back losses on Monday when they host the visiting Dallas Mavericks. A three-game win streak for the Rockets was snapped in Saturday night’s disappointing home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Meanwhile, the Mavericks are coming off a huge home win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Harden outshined by George
The typical James Harden show for the Rockets took a backseat to Thunder forward Paul George’s monstrous 45-point performance in Saturday night’s clash between two of the best teams in the Western Conference. Even Russell Westbrook’s triple-double against the Rockets faded into the background of Harden and George’s four-quarter shootout.
Scoring 35-plus points has become a common theme for Harden on a Rockets team that lacks the same firepower it had a year ago, when they took the Golden State Warriors to a seven-game playoff series. Chris Paul is steadily playing better as he’s working his way back into the lineup after missing a significant chunk of the season with a hamstring injury.
Yet, the combination of Paul and Harden pales in comparison to George and Westbrook at this point. The Rockets shot 43.0 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from 3-pointer, while also getting out-rebounded 63-49. Harden dropped 42 points and two rebounds, and Paul nearly had a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in the 117-112 loss.
Doncic magic on full display
The Trail Blazers were no match for Luka Doncic on Sunday night.
After falling behind late in the game, the Mavericks star forward helped engineer a 15-point comeback in the fourth quarter to knock off the fourth-ranked team in the Western Conference. It was another step in the right direction for a Mavericks team that is now 6-3 in their last nine games. Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard did everything possible to put his team in position to win, but Doncic seemingly always had an answer on the other end of the floor.
He scored 13 points in the fourth quarter alone to help drag his team back in the contest. That persistence and toughness in the face of adversity is further proof Doncic isn’t merely a flash in the pan kind of player this season. He’s a legitimate superstar in the making.
By the end of the game, Doncic had 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr. posted 24 points, four rebounds and three assists. Forward Dwight Powell also had a solid night off the bench with 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists in the 102-101 win.
- Rockets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against teams in the NBA Southwest
- Rockets are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games against teams with a road winning % of less than .400
- Under is 7-2 in Rockets last 9 against teams with a losing straight up record
- Under is 11-5 in Rockets last 16 Monday games
- Under is 5-0 in Mavericks last 5 road games
- Under is 6-1 in Mavericks last 7 road games against teams with a winning home record
- Under is 5-1 in Mavericks last 6 Monday games
- Under is 5-1 in Mavericks last 6 road games against teams with a home winning % of greater than .600
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Let’s not get too carried away with the Mavericks’ recent run of success. While their win over the Trail Blazers was spectacular, most of their wins during their recent run have come over teams with a losing regular season record. It wasn’t too long ago when losing was a common theme in Dallas, and they were on a 2-7 run.
After a memorable win over the Trail Blazers, they have to somehow muster the energy to go on the road and do it all over again against a tough Rockets team. Harden might be the best offensive player in basketball right now, and Paul is slowly getting back to the way he played before the hamstring injury. It’s hard to imagine the two future Hall of Famers dropping back-to-back home losses.
There is no Westbrook and George in Dallas. I’m having a hard time envisioning any scenario where Doncic actually upstages Harden on his home floor. It didn’t happen in either of the last two games between the teams this season, even though the Mavericks won both. The third time will be the charm when the Rockets’ explosive offense blows away a Mavericks team only averaging 109.1 points per game. I’ll take the Rockets this time around.
Prediction: Houston Rockets
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is 5-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings and 4-1 in the last five meetings in Houston between the Rockets and Mavericks. Dallas has an underrated scoring defense that is holding opponents to 108.6 points per game. Their confidence is rising to the point where they should be able to give the Rockets fits on the road, even if it isn’t good enough to come away with the win. Take the under in this game.