NBA Southwest Division Showdown: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets
Toyota Center – Houston, Texas

Monday, April 14, 2014, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: NBA-TV, FSN-SA, CSN-HOU
Opening Line: Houston -4
Current Line: Houston -6
Opening Total: 212
Current Total: 211 1/2
Opening Money Line: Rockets -250 / Spurs +210
Current Money Line: Rockets -260 / Spurs +220

The Spurs and Rockets meed Monday night in Houston in a potential playoff preview.

The Spurs and Rockets meed Monday night in Houston in a potential playoff preview.

The 62-18 San Antonio Spurs and 53-27 Houston Rockets could potentially meet in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Spurs have already clinched the best record in the league and the #1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Houston is currently the #4 seed in the West, and is only a half game up on the #5 seed Portland Trail Blazers. Those two teams will meet in the first round, but every other series is yet to be determined with only 3 days left in the regular season. A Houston win tonight secures home court advantage against Portland.

Houston has won all three meetings this season against San Antonio. The Rockets haven’t swept the season series against the Spurs since the 1992-93 season, and hasn’t even won the season series since 1996-97. Houston won in San Antonio 112-106 November 30 and 111-98 on Christmas Day. The Rockets also won in Houston 97-90 January 28.

San Antonio is coached by Gregg Popovich. The Spurs have gone 3-2 in their last 5 games after a 19 game winning streak. San Antonio won at home Friday night against the Phoenix Suns 112-104 to secure home court throughout the playoffs. San Antonio is 45-35 ATS and the total is 44-35-1 this season.

San Antonio is outscoring teams 106-97. The Spurs are #6 in scoring and #6 in points allowed. San Antonio is shooting 48.8% from the field and 40% from 3 point range. The Spurs are #2 in field goal percentage and #1 in 3 point shooting. San Antonio is #5 in free throw shooting at 78.4% from the line. Opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. The Spurs are in the top 10 in both categories. San Antonio is averaging 43.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 42 per game. The Spurs average 25.2 assists, 14.6 turnovers, 7.5 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.3 assists, 14 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 4.7 blocks per game.

Point guard Tony Parker averages 16.8 points, 5.8 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game. He missed a couple of games with a back injury but returned against Phoenix Friday night. He is expected to play tonight, but Popovich could rest him in a meaningless game.  Forward Tim Duncan averages 15.2 assists, 9.8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. Duncan is questionable with a knee injury.  Forward Kawhi Leonard averages 12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Guard Manu Ginobli averages 12.4 points, 3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1 steal per game. He is questionable with a hamstring injury. Guard Marco Belinelli averages 11.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Guard Patty Mills averages 10.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Boris Diaw, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, Jeff Ayres, and Matt Bonner will also get significant minutes. Bonner is questionable with food poisoning.

Houston is coached by Kevin McHale. The Rockets have struggled down the stretch losing 5 of their last 9 games. Houston got a much needed win Saturday at home against the New Orleans Pelicans 111-104 to snap a two game losing streak. the Rockets are 39-39-2 ATS and the total is 44-34-2 this season.

Houston is outscoring teams 108-103 this season. The Rockets are #2 in scoring and #23 in points allowed. Houston is shooting 47.3% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. The Rockets are #5 in field goal percentage. Houston is #28 of 30 teams in free throw shooting at 71.1% from the line. Opponents are shooting 44.2% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. Houston is 9th or better in both categories. The Rockets average 45.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 41.6 per game. The Rockets are #4 in rebounds and #8 in rebounds allowed. Houston averages 21.4 assists, 16.3 turnovers, 7.7 steals and 5.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 22.2 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 8.6 steals and 5.6 blocks per game.

Guard James Harden averages 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Center Dwight Howard averages 18.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. He returned Friday night against the Pelicans after missing the previous 8 games with an ankle injury. Forward Chandler Parsons averages 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He is questionable with a wrist injury. Point guard Jeremy Lin averages 12.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Forward Terrance Jones averages 11.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Patrick Beverley also returned to to the line-up Friday night after missing extended time with a torn meniscus that didn’t require surgery. He averages 10.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Omri Casspi, Jordan Hamilton, Francisco Garcia, Omer Asik, and Donatas Motiejunas will  also get minutes in the rotation. Garcia is questionable with a back injury.

 

San Antonio is 8-1 ATS when the opponent scores 100 points in the previous game, 9-2 against teams with winning records, 8-2 in road games, 12-3 against Western Conference teams, 4-1 against Southwest Division teams, 11-3 after a cover, 7-2 when the opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game, 16-5 after scoring 100 points or more, 21-7 overall, 20-8 after a straight up win, 5-2 against teams with winning home records, 21-9 on two days rest, and 41-18-1 after allowing 100 points or more.

Houston is 5-0 ATS in Monday games, 5-2 against teams with winning road records, 3-7 on 1 day rest, 2-8 against teams with winning records, 1-5 when the opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game, 1-4 after allowing 100 points or more, overall, against Western Conference teams, and after scoring 100 points or more. The Rockets have covered the last 5 against the Spurs, and Houston was the underdog in each of those contests.

I would be surprised if Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli play tonight as the Spurs ahve the luxury of resting their aging stars for the playoffs. Still the Spurs have a very deep and talented team even without that Hall of Fame trio. Houston has struggled recently as they try to hold off the hard charging Trail Blazers for the #4 seed. The Rockets are beginning to get healthy heading into the playoffs. I think they win and complete the season series sweep tonight against their in-state rival.

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