NBA

3-Point Shooting Will Help Red-Hot Rockets Beat Thunder

The Houston Rockets visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, with both teams looking to improve their playoff seeding in the West. The Rockets are currently just a half-game behind the second-place Nuggets while the Thunder are in sixth place, just a half-game over the Spurs and Clippers.

Tuesday, April 9 at 9:30 PM ET

Chesapeake Energy Arena

Coverage: TNT

PG13 at 100 Percent

The fact that there's something at stake makes me think that this will be a normal regular season game but the Thunder will be playing the first contest of a back-to-back to end the season and they could rest Paul George (28.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists) either tonight or tomorrow in Milwaukee because his shoulders are weary and the playoffs are coming. Load management wouldn't hurt Russell Westbrook (23.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 10.7 assists) but other than George's shoulder issues, they're healthy.

Rockets with a Lot at Stake

This will be Houston's regular season finale and they're 100 percent healthy, with a chance to take second place from Denver, who visit Utah tonight. Finishing with a better record than the Nuggets would give the Rockets home-court advantage in case they meet in the second round of the playoffs, so I don't see them resting their best players against the Thunder.

NBA Trends:

The Houston Rockets are:

6-0 ATS in their last six games overall

6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games against Western Conference opponents

5-0 ATS in their last five games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game

The Oklahoma City Thunder are:

5-11 ATS in their last 16 games following an ATS loss

5-11 ATS in their last 16 games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game

6-14 ATS in their last 20 games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game

7-17 ATS in their last 24 games overall

6-15 ATS in their last 21 games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game

3-13 ATS in their last 16 games against Western Conference opponents

The Rockets are on a roll, they just broke their own NBA record by going 27-for-57 (47.4 percent) from 3-point range on Sunday's 149-113 home win against the Suns and the Thunder are just 20th in the league, allowing opponents to make 35.7 percent of their 3-point shots. Paul George (plus-0.7 DBPM (Defensive Box Plus/Minus)) has been a solid defender this season but he needs to rest and the Rockets can shoot the lights out here, even if he plays.

NBA Pick: Rockets -2.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff

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