Basketball picksMarch 5, 2020

LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets Betting Preview

After winning five straight games, the LA Clippers head to Houston on Thursday for a classic showdown with the Rockets, featuring two of the top four teams in the Western Conference. The Clippers are in second at 42-19, five games behind the Lakers, while the 39-21 Rockets sit in fourth, 2.5 games behind the Clippers, and 7.5 behind the Lakers.

Both teams head into Thursday’s matchup fully healthy, which should give fans the battle royale that they want. The Clippers are coming off a Tuesday night win against Oklahoma City, while the Rockets are coming off a tough road loss to the Knicks on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 8 pm ET at the Toyota Center in Houston. Read on for more on the game in our betting preview.

Results of the Duo

The combination of a healthy Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both on the floor has been a winning one for the Clippers. They come in 21-7 when both are on the floor. Leonard is averaging 27 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. He also grabs nearly two steals per game.

George is averaging 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game himself. Throw in Lou Williams’ ability to score on demand with Patrick Beverley’s ability to defend anyone in the league, and you’ve got yourself a winning team. The Clippers rank top 5 in both offensive and defensive rating in the league.

The Other Dynamic Duo

Since James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been reunited, they’ve both played just as they always have, out of their minds. Westbrook’s efficiency and shooting percentage even went up. The superstar is taking way fewer bad shots. Harden is averaging an NBA-leading 35 points per game, and his step-back seems to get better with age.

The Rockets’ decision to go small and trade away Nene and Clint Capela has worked out so far. The additions of Robert Covington and Jordan Bell allow the Rockets to go even smaller, spreading the floor.

This gives Westbrook the driving lanes he needs, and Harden the open looks from deep that he needs. All feast, no famine. Covington and fellow sniper Eric Gordon both average around 14 points per game. Covington is shooting nearly 37% from three since joining the Rockets.

Spreading it Out Farther

Los Angeles has been better this season against the spread, as well as by record. The Clippers are 33-28 against the spread this season, while the Rockets are only 29-31. The Rockets are just over .500 against the spread at home, at 15-14. The Clippers are an even .500 on the road, at 15-15.

The Rockets are favored in this showdown by one point. The over/under is set at 237. Place your bets, ladies and gents. Good Luck!

For more on this game, check out the matchup page for the game. For more odds and action from around the NBA, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksNovember 13, 2019

LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets Betting Preview

An NBA Western Conference heavyweight match will take place Wednesday night in Houston. The Clippers come to town to square off against the Rockets, in a battle that you’ll want to tune your televisions to ESPN for.

The Rockets haven’t lost since dropping back-to-back games against the Nets and Heat at the beginning of November. The Clippers are coming off of two straight victories, with their last loss coming at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks last Wednesday.

Both teams have 7-3 records and are tied in third place in the West with the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers lead the West with an 8-2 mark, with Utah sitting a half-game back at 8-3.

The Clippers are 6-3-1 overall and 1-2 on the road, against the spread this season. The Rockets are 3-7 overall and 1-3 at home against the spread, interestingly enough. The Rockets are favored by two points headed into the contest, with the O/U set at 234.

Who Runs Los Angeles?

The Lakers and the Clippers both made over their respective rosters this offseason, and so far, it looks like both teams made moves in the right direction. The Clippers only trail the Lakers by a game in the West, and with the return of Paul George imminent, they have no intention of slowing down. It doesn’t look like George will be ready to go Wednesday night, but he should return to the lineup Thursday against the Pelicans.

The Clippers defense has fared very well even without the defensive-minded George. They force 15.9 turnovers per game, which ranks 11th in the NBA. They also rank in the top 10 in both steals and opponents’ field-goal percentage.

The combination of lockdown defenders Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley has already proven deadly to the opposition. Leonard is averaging an astounding 2.3 steals to go along with his 27 points per game, and Beverley isn’t far behind, averaging 1.6 steals per game.

Offensively, the Clippers have been led by Leonard along with Montrezl Harrell and NBA veteran Lou Williams. Williams has been named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year three times in the last five seasons and is second on the team in both assists and scoring this season, averaging 22.3 points per game to go along with his 5.6 assists. Leonard leads the team in both categories at 26.9 and 5.9, respectively.

The sharp-shooting JaMychal Green coming off the bench hasn’t hurt either. Green is shooting 42 percent from three-point range this year.

Revamping A Winner

The Rockets didn’t do much this offseason, just a few minor moves. You know, little things like swapping two future Hall of Fame point guards with the Thunder. Since swapping Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, the team somehow looks even faster-paced than it did a season ago. Which is no knock to Paul; Westbrook just plays a more uptempo game than he does. The addition of Westbrook has certainly made the Rockets an even more must-watch team.

The Clippers will be facing a defense that, on paper, shouldn’t be quite as bad as it’s been. Houston has five players that average at least one steal per game, including both James Harden, who averages 1.4, and Westbrook, who averages 2.0. Clint Capela has been a plus rim-protector, averaging 2.2 blocks and 11.7 rebounds per game.

The Rockets offense gets a lot of the spotlight and rightfully so. They rank second in the league in points per game, averaging over 120. Harden has been on a complete scoring tear all season, putting up 37.3 points per game to go with 8.3 assists, while Westbrook is averaging 21.9 points, 7.4 assists, and 8.8 rebounds per game.

P.J. Tucker, Austin Rivers, and Daniels House have all shot great from deep, while they wait for fellow three-point sharpshooters, Harden and Eric Gordon to get it going, though House and Gordon will miss this contest with injuries.

Weighing Your Options

This matchup will certainly give bettors out there a lot to think about. I would love to see what the betting lines would look like with a healthy George for LA. Look for this game to be a high-scoring shootout. There should be outbursts of good defense and turnovers on both sides, but a fast, up-tempo game nonetheless.

Matchups like these typically hype up the superstars for each respective team, and for good reason. The role players for both teams will be extremely significant, but it will likely come down to how well Harden/Westbrook/Capela match up against Leonard/Williams/Harrell with a little Beverley defense sprinkled in. Strap in folks, this should be a fun one.

This is a close matchup, so to see what everyone thinks about it, check out our NBA consensus page. Check out our matchup page for this game for an in-depth look at this contest.

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