Nov 13, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine (8) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Starting today I’ll be sharing my thoughts and opinions on the day’s slate of games. This feature will run during Houston Rockets game days and on the weekends. I’ll analyze if the Rockets can perform up to their predicted outcome and also cover their opponents.
I’ll be grading my picks against the spread on “A” being the highest, “C” being the lowest and of course “B” being … well yeah B, you get the idea. Let’s get to it!
Memphis Grizzlies @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Spread: Memphis -2.5
The absence of lead guard Ricky Rubio has taken it’s toll on this young Minnesota team. Coming off three straight losses, the loss of Rubio has effected this team defensively more than it has offensively giving up 1.132 points per 100 possession in their last 3 games. Mean while, the stout defensive minded Memphis we’ve known for the past 4 years has been non existent thus far giving up 1.036 points per 100 possession putting them in the bottom half of the league. The Grizzlies will also be facing off against the Thunder tomorrow.
With Minnesota coming off three straight losses and Memphis traveling back home to face a team they’ve had multiple playoff battles against in the past, I look for a balls to the wall effort from Minnesota while the Grizzlies sleep walk through Target Center.
Portland Trailblazers @ Charlotte Hornets
Spread: Hornets -4.5
Offensively the Hornets look great, no more Kemba Walker “WTF” shots and more Spurs-sy like ball movement leading to clean perimeter looks. Unfortunately their defense has suffered at the exchange of their vastly improved offense. The Trailblazers come into this game coming off four straight losses in which very little defense has been played.
Over 206, (C)
Utah Jazz @ Atlanta Hawks
Spread: Atlanta -4
Utah to no surprise has been among the best if not THE BEST defensive team in the NBA. Similar to the Wolves, their loss of Rudy Gobert has hindered their performance defensively as well as offensively as they have dropped three straight. The Hawks have been doing Hawks things but most noticeably has struggled against defensively sound teams who are able to slow them down. I look for Utah to really control the pace of this game and dominate the boards for plenty of second chance opportunities.
Utah +4, (C)
Boston Celtics @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Spread: Thunder -5.5
Both Boston and OKC rank amongst the top 5 in terms of Defensive Efficiency thanks in large part to their versatility on the perimeter. Boston has noticeably struggled against great rebounding teams due to their soft front court. On the flip side of that, Boston has been exceptional at generating points in the post thanks to their skilled big men while OKC has struggled to consistently defend that area of the court. Both teams will look to utilize attacking the rim while remaining solid defensively on the perimeter.
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- Houston Rockets: The case for, and against, trading Christian Wood
- NBA Rumors: Why the Houston Rockets shouldn’t trade up to no. 1 in NBA Draft
- 3 players that would be a perfect fit for the Houston Rockets at 23 or 24
Under 210, (A)
Toronto Raptors @ Sacramento Kings
Spread: Toronto -2
Toronto will look to get off to a strong start against the Kings with this being their first of a 5 game Western Conference road trip. Although every metric points to the Raptors handling this one easily, something in me is just yelling TRAP, TRAP, TRAP! Could it be the Kings have finally figured it out? Hello old Rondo.
Kings +2, (B)
Detroit Pistons @ Los Angeles Lakers
Spread: Detroit -4.5
Detroit enters this competition dropping three straight and this being the last of a 6 game Western Conference road trip. Meanwhile the Lakers will be coming home for their first game off a 5 game road trip. Will the Pistons look to finish off a disappointing road trip in strong fashion or will look ahead to going home? My guess is under a Stan Van Gundy coached team, Detroit will look to throttle a sluggish Los Angeles team.
Detroit -4.5, (C)