NBA Thursday Night Picks: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors

Houston at Golden St.

Time: 9:30 PM CST (TNT)

Spread: HOU -11

Total: 234

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Houston Rockets are 34-20 and seeded No. 5 in the Western Conference. It travels to face the cellar-dwelling Golden State Warriors, just 12-43 on the year and 7-19 at home where it has typically been a force the last several seasons. The over/under is set at 234 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.

HOUSTON news & notes:

The Houston Rockets have won six of its last 10, at 34-20 and seeded No. 5 in the Western Conference. It has just a 1.5 game lead on No. 6 OKC.

James Harden is averaging a silly 35.3 points per game on the season with 7.3 assists to his credit as well. He is connecting on 35.8 percent of his threes and 43.7 percent of his field goals while turning it over an “almost excusable” 4.5 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 46 percent from the floor while posting per-game averages of 27.2 points, 8 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 2.5 blocks/steals in 36 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 eight 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 dealt center Clint Capela at the trade deadline to add “3 and D” specialist Robert Covington. Houston had fared well with Capela out this season and is now fully committed to the small ball that tends to promote its great regular season successes.

GOLDEN ST

The Golden State Warriors are just 12-43 on the season and in the last place in the Pacific division. It is, thus far, the worst team in the entire Association, in fact. The Warriors have lost its last four overall and nine of its last 10.

This is an unfamiliar territory from a team that had boasted four All-Stars a season ago. Out is Kevin Durant, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets, while the Warriors are also without sharpshooter Klay Thompson. D’Angelo Russell was a dynamite scorer, but the Warriors are also without Stephen Curry for a long period this season due to an injured wrist. Draymond Green is the only one of the Warriors’ top-4 players from a year ago to suit up at this point.

Russell was ultimately dealt for swingman Andrew Wiggins. The jury will remain “out” on that trade for several seasons, but Wiggins is just 24-years-old and could fulfill his massive potential in a Warriors uniform once Curry and Thompson are back in tow.

The next on the list of active scorers though is rookie and second-round pick Eric Paschall. He has been impressive, almost like a more offensive (and of course less defensive), Draymond Green. Paschall is averaging 14.1 points, 4.5, and 1.8 assists per game.

Golden State scores just 106.3 per game. So, with a patched-up roster consisting of a lot of rookies, young talent, discarded reclamation projects (like Willie Cauley-Stein), the Warriors are simply not a team that stacks up to most of the other teams in the Association anymore

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