Can the Spurs slow down the Rockets: Game preview, predictions, bets
By Ethan Farina
Can the San Antonio Spurs slow down the red hot Houston Rockets tonight? James Harden has been on a tear lately
Fresh off of their absolute domination of the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, the Houston Rockets visit the Alamo City tonight to take on the San Antonio Spurs. James Harden has continued his dominant run from last year with another scorched earth campaign this season.
Harden is on a scoring run that compares to Hall of Fame players like Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. He’s unstoppable in isolation situations, scoring over 50% of his points in one on one matchups. And when you double him he’s still one of the best passers in the game, able to find open teammates in a split second.
Harden’s greatness this season has overshadowed the impressive ease with which Russell Westbrook has integrated himself into the Houston offense. Very rarely have we seen such wide-open lanes for Russ to attack the rim. When he shares the floor with Harden and Clint Capella defenses are left with no good options. That lineup has a +4.3 net when they share the floor together. That figure should only go up as they continue to get more comfortable sharing the floor.
The San Antonio Spurs have struggled mightily on defense this year, especially on the perimeter. DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes are two of the least intimidating perimeter defenders in the league. They’re regularly allowing opponents to blow past them and get straight to the rim. It’s no coincidence that LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging a career-high in blocks this season.
San Antonio isn’t going to lock down the Rockets. It’s just not going to happen. This is going to be a high-scoring affair. The only hope San Antonio has is for Houston to go cold while they catch fire. Lonnie Walker IV showed his defensive chops against Harden in the preseason and has not been shy about putting up shots, he should get serious minutes in this contest. It would make this likely loss more palatable and could end up being a surprise key to success.
Gameday bets and prediction
Spread: Spurs +5.5
Player prop bets: None available
All betting information courtesy of The Action Network.
Take the Rockets and the over in this one. This is one of the toughest matchups of the season for the Spurs. They simply don’t have the defense to limit the Rockets stars like they need to and they likely can’t score enough to outpace Houston. It’s very tough to see them pulling out a win tonight
If the Spurs are able to win it would be exactly the kind of spark that they could be looking for. Divisions don’t mean much in the NBA but games against in-state rivals always mean a little more. Even if the result isn’t what Spurs fans are hoping for this should still be an entertaining game.