NBA Monday Night Picks: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets

San Antonio at Houston

Time: 7 PM CST

Spread: HOU -10

Total: 232

Odds c/o Bet Online

The Houston Rockets are currently seeded No. 5 in the West with a 17-9 mark on the season. The Rockets are 9-4 at home where it hosts the struggling 10-15 San Antonio Spurs. Houston is 10-point favorites in NBA odds Monday night, and the betting total is set at 232 points according to NBA oddsmakers at Bet Online.

HOU

The Houston Rockets have won two of its last three to arrive at 17-9 and the No. 5 spot in the West thus far.

Superstar guard James Harden is averaging a silly 39.3 points per game on the season with 7.5 assists to his credit as well. He is connecting on 36 percent of his threes and 44.8 percent of his field goals while turning it over an “almost excusable” 5.0 times per game. It is excusable simply because Harden produces so much that it is a mere corollary of the ball being in his hands most of the time.

Westbrook has fared well as a Rocket, though. He is shooting 42.5 percent from the floor while posting per-game averages of 22.5 points, 8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 2.0 blocks/steals in 32.9 minutes a night. The Rockets thus far appear to have great chemistry, which was something that was both developed quickly and unexpected by many naysayers and pundits who mostly felt that Harden and Westbrook would be unable to share the ball well together. Due to the fact that both rely on having the ball in their hands to create offense, it remains to be seen how long and how well this pairing of Westbrook and Harden works.

The pair once was together in OKC, but neither is used to the role they respectively played during that time. Westbrook has averaged 11.5 assists per game over the last two, and his minutes seem to be locked in at 33 to 35 per game, which should take some of the load off of it, in the name of the ever-present “load management.”

The Rockets have also got more offense out of center Clint Capela this season. He is averaging 13.8 points, 14.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks/steals per game. PJ Tucker has seen his role offensively increase, and he is taking advantage, averaging 9.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Eric Gordon has seen his role change with Westbrook aboard, and he is not doing as much as he had in the past two seasons, either.

But then again, this is a Houston team that averages 120.1 points per game, so perhaps asking for more offense from any player at this point resembles nothing but greed.

SAS

The San Antonio Spurs is just 10-15 on the season and it sits in third-place of the Southwest Division, trailing the first-place Houston Rockets by seven full games already. This may be the year the Spurs finally return to the realm of the NBA’s lottery teams.

Looking at the Spurs roster, it is understandable as to why: San Antonio is led by two high-scoring veterans, but this team’s defensive outlook is nowhere near as bright, and it lacks depth unless one is to overrate the talents in it and what they have done so far.

San Antonio is giving up 115.6 points per game while scoring 111.9 itself.

The Spurs are offensively led by the two veterans DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Both post-PERs of 19, but after that, the depth really thins out on this roster. Bryn Forbes has provided a boost with 12 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, but he is really playing right at “replacement level.” The same applies to Patty Mills, whose defense is partly to blame for teams tallying so many points on the Spurs. Rudy Gay is washed up, and Dejounte Murray has been decent but the Spurs were hoping for even more.

All of this comes together to spell a team that is almost lucky to have won one-third of its games thus far in 2019-20. Without a step-up in defensive intensity, it will not even win that many moving forward.

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