HOUSTON ROCKETS (16-16)
at PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (17-16)
Tip-off: Sunday, 9:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Portland -3, Total: 200.5
Streaking Houston looks to climb above .500 for the first time this season when it visits Portland on Sunday night. The Trail Blazers have won seven straight at home, while the Rockets have rebounded from an 0-5 start by winning 16 of their past 27 games.
Houston has won eight of its past 10 contests behind a sizzling offense. During that stretch, it is averaging 108.9 PPG to jump to fourth in the NBA in scoring at 106.0 PPG. The Rockets also rank second in assists with 24.1 APG and are ninth in rebounding with 42.4 RPG. Basketball scores.
On New Year’s Eve, they picked up a 114-105 home victory over Toronto behind Chase Budinger’s season-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Budinger has gone 12-for-18 from the floor in his past two games, which is a far contrast from his anemic 36% shooting in the first 20 games. Leading scorer Kevin Martin (23.3 PPG, 43.6% three-pointers) finished with 20 points, which marked his eighth straight game with at least 20, while rookie Patrick Patterson (5.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG) added career highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes. Luis Scola (19.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG) chipped in with 13 points, his lowest outing since scoring 10 at Milwaukee on Dec. 10. Forward Chuck Hayes missed the game with a sprained ankle that is expected to sideline him for 2-to-4 weeks. Basketball odds.
Meanwhile, Portland has won five of seven and is coming off a 100-89 win over Utah on Thursday. The Trail Blazers are winning despite playing without Brandon Roy (16.6 PPG) for the past seven games. The team said Roy is sidelined indefinitely with sore knees.
Portland’s success without Roy can be attributed to a defense that ranks ninth in the league, allowing only 94.8 PPG. It has held its past three opponents to 91.7 PPG, and against the Jazz, it scored 26 points off 17 forced turnovers. LaMarcus Aldridge (19.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG) has also been a bigger catalyst recently, averaging 25.4 PPG and 10.2 RPG in his past eight games. Wesley Matthews (15.8 PPG, 36.4% three-pointers), who is third on the team in scoring, tied a career-high with 30 points against Utah. He averaged 18.6 PPG in December, which was five points higher than his November numbers.
The Trail Blazers are looking to win eight straight at home for the first time since claiming 12 consecutive victories from Jan. 24-March 9, 2009. Houston hasn’t found much success in Portland, losing its past three games in the Rose Garden and failing to score more than 90 in each of the past two contests. The two teams split the season series 2-2 last year, as both teams won on their home court.
Expect the Trail Blazers to pull out the victory and continue their home success on Sunday. This FoxSheets trend likes Portland as the pick here.
Play Against – Underdogs (HOUSTON) – good shooting team (45.5-47.5%) against an poor defensive team (45.5-47.5%), good ball handling team (<=14.5 TO’s) against an average pressure defensive team (14.5-16.5 TO’s). (73-34 over the last 5 seasons.) (68.2%, +35.6 units. Rating = 3*). Basketball spreads.
The FoxSheets also like the Under:
Play Under – Road teams where the total is greater than or equal to 200 (HOUSTON) – after failing to cover the spread in 2 or more consecutive games, well rested team – playing 4 or less games in 10 days. (79-39 over the last 5 seasons.) (66.9%, +36.1 units. Rating = 2*).