Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans Preview
The Houston Rockets have begun their ascent in the Western Conference standings, and hope to continue climbing at home tonight against a banged-up up New Orleans Pelicans team.
The Rockets, now fifth in the Western Conference and one game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for fourth, are now 29-20 on the season. They have won their last three games and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. New Orleans seems to be going the other way. They are 22-28 on the season, have lost their last three and are 13th in the West.
In their last matchup on December 29, the Rockets won 108-104 behind 41 points and nine rebounds from James Harden. Julius Randle led the Pelicans that night with 23 points.
Time: 8:00pm ET
Arena: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup
As if the Pelicans weren’t dealing with an injury-ravaged roster already, news broke that All-Star center Anthony Davis has requested a trade from New Orleans. Davis was going to be eligible for a supermax extension this summer but he has informed the team that he has no intention of signing an extension.
Still, coach Lionel Hollins says the Pelicans are not giving up on their season.
While Jahlil Okafor and Jrue Holiday performed admirably in their last game, a 126-114 loss on Saturday to the San Antonio Spurs, they simply did not have enough firepower to outscore the Spurs, even without DeMar DeRozan.
If that was an issue, guarding James Harden, who has no trouble putting up 40-50 points, will be a concern. In even worse news, Chris Paul is also back in the lineup, so the Pelicans have a tall task ahead of them.
Nikola Mirotic, E’Twaun Moore and Anthony Davis are still out, while Julius Randle is questionable.
Houston Rockets Starting Lineup
The Rockets somehow stayed above water without Chris Paul, and most recently, without Clint Capela. Much of that has been thanks to James Harden basically putting the team on his back and getting them through that stretch with an MVP-like performance night in and night out. The Rockets front office also deserves some credit for grabbing Kenneth Faired, who has played well in Capela’s absence and looks to be a great fit in Houston.
In Chris Paul’s first game back, he took some time to get reacquainted but eventually found his rhythm with 12 points, six assists, and five rebounds in 25 minutes. James Harden still seemingly carried the team with 40 points and 11 rebounds and Faried had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Rockets as a whole, got out to a slow start, scoring just 18 points in the first quarter, but they seemed to recover, especially in the second quarter.
Look for Paul to see a slow, but steady increase in playing time as he works himself back into playing shape and gets his conditioning back.
Clint Capela remains out, but Brandon Knight is probable for tonight.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Houston Rockets Betting Odds
The Houston Rockets are 10-point favorites to win tonight’s game after opening at -9.5. The over/under is 234 points. There’s been only minimal movement on the moneyline as the Rockets are -610 after opening at -600. The Pelicans are +405.
Houston is 23-15-11 against the spread and 15-0-11 at home. New Orleans is 23-15-12 and 12-16-10 on the road ATS.
Overall, the Rockets are 19-7 at home and 23-14 as the favorite. New Orleans is 7-20 on the road and 6-17 as the underdog.
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DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Picks
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