Can the Rockets Keep their Hot Streak Alive?
John Wall and Victor Oladipo are the Rockets’ new faces, especially if Christian Wood is out, as Houston transitions after trading away James Harden. After Wall took care of his former Wizards team on Tuesday, the Rockets opened as -2.5 favorites hosting Portland, but the lines already jumped to -4. Houston has been playing some good ball lately, finding a little bit of rhythm in their game. The Rockets have won three in a row while covering in all three games to boot. Sure, Wall and Oladipo get a lot of press in the back court, but it’s Eric Gordon that has been filling up the box score lately. The former Clipper has 20 or more in five consecutive games, averaging over 23 a game over that span, yet his props number is still just at 17.5. It could be difficult to sustain, especially as the Rockets welcome back more and more healthy players to the lineup. Much of Gordon’s recent success has come with Wall and Wood out of the lineup, so that’s something to think about.
It’ll be interesting to see how Houston plays against a Portland team missing CJ McCollum from the backcourt and Jusuf Nurkic in the middle. With Nurkic out, the Blazers are forced to play maybe the worst defensive center in basketball. Enes Kanter is just a massive liability on that end of the floor. Sure Kanter can score, but you’re really trading off almost bucket for bucket when he’s out there. We say it last year in the playoffs when he was with Boston. Coach Brad Stevens took him out and never put him back in after repeated defensive lapses. With Kanter, the Blazers have now played to three consecutive overs in these games that have not had Nurkic. They are still hitting overs despite being without McCollum, who led the team in scoring for much of the season. They’ve lost a vast offensive source but just gave up a buck 25 to both San Antonio and the Thunder, neither very good offensive teams.
Speaking of overs, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Damian Lillard even though Lillard has to beat a crazy number of 33.5 at the FanDuel Sportsbook, lean toward him, pulling it off. Daime can go off at any time, and the Blazers don’t have a lot of options on the offensive end as well as on D, so he’ll be putting up a ton of shots on Thursday. For the Blazers to compete, Lillard has to have a big one, and it looks like that will be the case against the Rockets.