Date/Time: November 14, 8:00 p.m. EST
NBA Betting Odds from Bookmaker
NBA Betting Favorite: Rockets -3.5
The Houston Rockets and New York Knicks both entered the season with very high expectations. Houston has started 5-3, but they’ve had some disappointing losses early in the year. The Knicks have been a complete disaster at 2-4. New York was berated by their owner this past weekend, and the team is desperately searching for answers. The good news is there is plenty of time left in the season. This game will be featured on TNT Thursday night.
Houston added Dwight Howard in the offseason, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the biggest areas of improvement for the team so far this year have been offensive rebounding and defense. Houston is number one in the league in offensive rebounding right now. The Rockets are still playing fast, so they give up points, but they are second in the NBA in field goal percentage defense. Howard is averaging 17.6 points and 14.9 rebounds per game so far this year, so he is off to a strong start.
James Harden loves having Howard around, and Harden leads the team in scoring with 24.9 points per game. Harden is really a stat sheet stuffer. He is grabbing 4.6 rebounds per game and also averages 5.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Harden sat out of Wednesday’s game, and he is questionable for this one. Jeremy Lin broke out with 31 points in the team’s win over Toronto earlier this week. Lin’s shooting numbers are up significantly so far this year, and if he can keep it up this team is far more dangerous. Houston needs to continue to play fast, because that is when they are at their best.
The Knicks had a successful season last year, but the 2013-2014 season hasn’t started well at all for New York. When your owner is guaranteeing wins after just six games, you know there are plenty of problems. Tyson Chandler’s injury was really bad news for this team, and the Knicks are really struggling on the inside. New York is in the bottom five in the NBA in rebounding, which could be a major problem in this matchup against Houston. The Knicks offense was so efficient last year, but they are 25th in the NBA in points per game at 93 per contest so far this year.
Carmelo Anthony leads the team in scoring at 23.2 points per game. Anthony’s shooting numbers are down across the board though, and he is getting poor shots at the basket. Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, and Raymond Felton are all averaging about 12 points per game. The Knicks just aren’t getting up good shots at the basket like they were last season. There is very little ball movement, and it seems like too many guys are standing around.
Free Pick: Houston -3.5
Both teams are on the second end of a back-to-back here. I like Houston because they are so strong on the boards, and they should take advantage of the Knicks weakness there.
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