Tuesday, March 5 at 8:00 PM ET
Two of the best teams in the NBA clash when the red-hot Houston Rockets visit the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. The Rockets have won five straight games while the Raptors look to get back on track after a tough overtime road loss against the Pistons.
James Harden exploded for 42 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 115-104 win against the Celtics. Harden has now made six 3-pointers and scored 40 or more points in 24 games. Eric Gordon had 32 points while making eight 3-pointers and the Rockets were able to hold the Celtics to 48.1 percent shooting (37-for-77) and 28.6 percent (8-for-28) from distance. The Rockets made 21 3-pointers and they will need to replicate that effort in order to beat the Raptors again.
Kawhi Leonard didn't play because of load management when the Raptors lost 112-107 on overtime in Detroit last Sunday. Kyle Lowry stepped up in Leonard's absence, leading the Raptors with 35 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Pascal Siakam added 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Siakam is coming into his own, averaging 18.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 35.8 minutes over his last five games and the Raptors need a big game from him if they want to win.
The Over is:
6-1 in Houston's last seven games against a team with a winning straight up record
4-1 in Houston's last five games following a straight up win of more than 10 points
8-1 in Toronto's last nine games against Southwest Division opponents
5-1 in Toronto's last six games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
4-1 in Toronto's last five games against Western Conference opponents
4-1 in Toronto's last five games against a team with a winning straight up record
5-2 in Toronto's last seven games overall
6-1 in the last seven meetings
Rockets – 2nd (112.0 points scored per 100 possessions)
Raptors – 7th (110.4 points allowed per 100 possessions)
These two teams clearly know how to score and they combined for 240 points in their first meeting this season, a 121-119 Rockets win on January 25 in Houston. The Rockets won despite getting outrebounded 47-40 and making just 10 of 46 3-pointers (21.7 percent). James Harden led Rockets with 35 points while Kawhi Leonard had 32 points for the Raptors.
The key to this game will be, can Toronto stop Houston's supporting cast this time? They focused on letting anybody but Harden beat them and it didn't work, as Eric Gordon finished 24 points, Kenneth Faried scored 21 points with 14 rebounds, P.J. Tucker had 18 and Austin Rivers added 13. Both rosters look very different this time but there's enough firepower to make this game go Over this high total.
NBA Pick: Over 228 (-110)
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzsportsON