Rockets News

Houston Rockets Face Biggest Test of Season in Home & Home Spurs Series

By Tamberlyn Richardson
5 of 5

Dec 25, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) moves the ball up court ahead of San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (behind) and Tim Duncan (21) during the second half at AT&T Center. The Rockets won 111-98. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Pick:

The odds makers give San Antonio the edge by a rather gaudy 5.5 points. A little shocking given the likelihood Tony Parker won’t play, but not that surprising given the 8-game winning streak (by an average of 2o+ points per game) the Spurs are on. Yet the Spurs also played last night while Houston have been off since Sunday.

We’ll need to keep an eye on what the odds makers do Friday when the game will be hosted in Houston, yet it’s hard to get too upset given how great the Spurs have been playing. I even ranked them super high in my power ranking this week so I can’t fault the pickers.

While losing this game won’t mean the end of the world, the Rockets really need to take advantage of having an extra days rest and probability of no Tony Parker for the Spurs. It would go a long way to building momentum, capturing the Division title and of course building confidence for this Rockets team who are also on their own rather hot streak winning 8 of their last 10 games.

Hopefully the Rockets will do what they tend to in games like this where everyone basically has written them off by winning the night. Harden hasn’t tended to have back to back huge scoring games and we know “the Claw” will be all over him defensively so look for Howard to play a bigger role in tonight’s game. That said, Harden has repeatedly stepped up on big occasions out performing LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and a host of others, so the fact he’ll be barraged with questions regarding Kawhi Leonard’s defense of him may lead to the Beard being amped to make his own MVP statement in the game tonight.

I say it’ll be close, but this is the one the Rockets should really push to win because it will take the pressure off Friday and should propel them to retain the Division Title and second seed.

Next: Who has the power?

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