It will be a battle of Texas when the San Antonio Spurs take on the Houston Rockets on Monday night.
It has not been a great year for the Spurs, who lost one to the struggling Cavaliers at home on Thursday. They bounced back from that by downing the Suns on a last-second shot from Patty Mills in Mexico City on Saturday.
We haven’t seen a team that plays as many guards as the Spurs in a long time. They start Derrick White and Bryn Forbes, then bring Lonnie Walker, Mills, Dejounte Murray and Marco Belinelli off the bench. Whatever gets it done, but this is interesting.
Houston, on the other hand, has been playing just fine, and it seems that James Harden is on a mission to be the second player in NBA history to average 40 points per game for a full season. His back-to-back 50-point efforts last week certainly help his cause, which seems to become more impressive by the game.
The Rockets were able to rest Russell Westbrook in their last game and not miss a beat as Ben McLemore continues to shoot it well from long range. The addition of Austin Rivers last season has also continued to pay dividends.
The Rockets are 10-point favorites at home, with the over/under at 232.5 for this one.
Looking To Climb Back To Relevance
A long, 20-plus-year playoff streak is what’s on the line for this version of the Spurs, who are struggling to win games. They had an eight-game skid earlier in the season, something we would not have expected from a Gregg Popovich-coached team.
San Antonio does look sillier by the day for trading Davis Bertrans just to sign Marcus Morris (who spurned them for the Knicks, of course). Davis is crushing it over in DC, making threes and headlines every night. The lack of outside shooting has really hurt this team in 2019-20, more than any other year.
DeMar DeRozan is getting to the basket and making midrange shots, but his game is predictable. Only Forbes and White launch threes out of the starting lineup, and it’s very non-uniform with the rest of the league. We’ll see if LaMarcus Aldridge can go to work on Clint Capela in this one.
Trying To Keep The Roll
Despite the 10-point spread, we should expect this to be a close game, as it usually is when these teams meet. Harden will be facing strong defense for most of the night from several different guys, but he should be able to keep his hot streak going anyway. He had back-to-back 50-point efforts to guide Houston to a winning week and is hoping to stay hot as the holiday season approaches.
Westbrook has been playing better of late and not forcing as many shots up, which could be a big plus for Houston. Despite having two ball-dominant guys, the Rockets move the ball beautifully.
If they are on from beyond the arc on Monday, there is not a chance that the Rockets fall short.
Spurs Pull Off Upset
If you want to be respected around the league, you need to win games like this. The Spurs have read that message, as this will be a tight win for them in Houston.
Free play: SA +10
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