New Orleans Pelicans (43-40) at Houston Rockets (58-14)
We came up short last night when we backed the Washington Wizards at home against the Denver Nuggets. Sound the alarms, alert the media, the Denver Nuggets finally won a road game against a decent team!
That was something that the Nuggets hadn’t really done all year long, as they have been atrocious away from the Pepsi Center in Denver. Good for Denver winning a game they badly needed. The Nuggets pulled to within just one game of the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with the win.
We got burned last night, but we have been killing it all year long betting against the Nuggets on the road, and they still have five more roads games on the schedule this year. Four of those are against teams that are projected to make the playoffs. Don’t be shocked if you see me positioning myself on the other side of Denver a couple more times down the stretch as the season winds to an end.
Today I will look at two teams that are playing their best basketball as the season draws to a close, when the New Orleans Pelicans play the Houston Rockets.
The New Orleans Pelicans will travel to Houston Saturday night to play the league’s best team, the Rockets. The Pelicans have made a big push in the season’s second half and have gone from a team many expected to miss the playoffs, to a team that has a very real shot at a top-four seed.
For Houston, the Rockets continue to plow through any team in their path’s as they are poised to win sixty-plus games this season. The Rockets are -8-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 224.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from the Toyota Center.
The Houston Rockets have all but run away with the NBA’s best regular season record and the home court advantage throughout the playoffs that goes with it. The Rockets currently hold a four-game lead over the Golden State Warriors for the top spot in the Western Conference.
The Warriors have made it quite clear at this point that they don’t expect to catch the Rockets and are very noticeable resting up key players to get ready for the playoffs. The Rockets are doing the exact opposite.
Houston is on fire and playing at a very high level right now. The Rockets have won a borderline absurd, twenty-four out of their last twenty-five games. With the lone loss coming on the road against the best team in the Eastern Conference, and the best home team in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors. Many teams are struggling to just stay competitive against this team this season.
The New Orleans Pelicans have been a team that I have bet on, and against, several times this season. They have come through big for us in the season’s second half as they have turned themselves into a legit threat to win a playoff series this year. The Pelicans just wrapped up one of the toughest stretches of schedule that any team had to play this year.
New Orleans was forced to play three games in three nights this week. The Pelicans managed to gut out and have come from behind victories late in all three games. It was a stretch that really tested the legs of this team, and they passed it with flying colors.
But even though that was a tough patch of scheduling, as far as the number of minutes they had to play, they played a fairly soft couple of teams. They played against the Lakers and the Mavericks, two bad teams that won’t be making the playoffs this year. And against a Pacers team that is below .500 on the road this year.
So, while this was a nice little run of wins, that they really needed, they are in store for something completely different tonight in Houston.
This is a really tough spot for the Pelicans. They had to play back to back to back games, all three of which required a big late effort to win. All three of which required thirty-five plus minutes from Anthony Davis. Then they got one night off and had to travel to Houston, a team that has forgotten how to lose.
For the Rockets they had a soft matchup against the Detroit Pistons and then a night off at home. This marks game two of a long five-game homestand for the Rockets. They are at home and comfortable, and I expect them to win big tonight.
These two teams just matched up one week ago in New Orleans and the Rockets took that game 107-101. Now the script is flipped, and they have to run it back again, but this time in Houston. I expect an emotional and physically exhausted Pelicans team that just won’t be able to hang with Houston all night long.
I am not sure this is a spot where the Pelicans completely lay down, but I certainly see this as a double-digit Houston victory. I very rarely lay this kind of wood, but I strongly believe this Houston team is an elite one and expect them to take care of business tonight at home.
Give me the Houston Rockets -8-points tonight!