HOUSTON ROCKETS (8-4)
at DALLAS MAVERICKS (7-4)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 9:35 p.m. ET
Line: Dallas -4, Total: 215
Two of the top offenses in the NBA square off Wednesday night when the Rockets visit the Mavericks.
Houston brings a three-game win streak (SU and ATS) into this Texas showdown, averaging 113.3 PPG on 51.1% FG in those contests. Its most recent win, a 109-85 victory over the Celtics on Tuesday, was the Rockets' largest victory this season. After going 41-41 last season and not making the playoffs, Dallas has been one of the surprises in the Western Conference. The team has won four of its past five games (SU and ATS) including two straight SU victories. Houston has gone 3-2 SU and ATS on the road while the Mavericks have yet to lose at home this season, going 5-0 SU (4-1 ATS). These two teams met early this year on Nov. 1, with the Rockets coming away with the victory at home, 113-105, and covering the 6.5-point spread while holding Dallas to 38% FG. But the Mavs are 6-2 (SU and ATS) against Houston over the past three seasons, including a perfect 4-0 (SU and ATS) at home. Since 1996, Dallas is 44-31 SU (59%) and 42-29 ATS (59%) against the Rockets. However, Houston is 24-12 ATS (67%) versus good outside shooting teams (36%+ 3-pt FG) in the past two seasons. But the Mavericks are 137-92 ATS (60%) after two consecutive non-conference games.
Which Texas team will emerge victorious on Wednesday? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Forecaster has been spot-on so far this season with a 59% ATS record (30-21) in featured games, while the five experts are a sizzling 63% ATS (19-11) on Best Bets since Nov. 12. StatFox Gary is 5-1 ATS, while StatFox Brian and StatFox Dave are both is 4-2 ATS during this timeframe, with Dave improving to 56% ATS (9-7) on NBA Best Bets for the season.
The Rockets are currently scoring 108.8 PPG (2nd in NBA) and are shooting 47.7% from the field (4th in league). However, Houston has given up 104.5 PPG (4th-worst in league), including 112.0 PPG allowed on the road. SG James Harden (24.3 PPG, 5.2 APG, 5.1 RPG) has become one of the NBA’s premier scorers and has netted 20+ points in 7-of-12 games this season. When the Rockets faced the Mavericks early on this season, Harden had a great game, scoring 34 points on 11-of 17 shooting (4-of-8 threes) with four steals, four rebounds and three assists. Harden scored 27.0 PPG with 8.0 APG and 5.5 RPG in four games last season against Dallas. C Dwight Howard (17.2 PPG, 2.4 BPG) leads the NBA in rebounds (13.9 RPG), and had 13 points and 16 rebounds against Dallas in the second game of the season, but shot only 5-for-12 from the charity stripe. In 20 career games against the Mavericks, Howard has netted 19.2 PPG and grabbed 12.6 RPG while being a force on defense with 2.0 BPG and 1.2 SPG. Houston PG Jeremy Lin (17.6 PPG, 5.0 APG, 1.3 SPG) has started only five of 12 games this season, but has outplayed starting PG Patrick Beverley (9.3 PPG, 2.1 APG). C Omer Asik (4.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG) had six points and 12 boards on Nov. 1 against the Mavs, but has logged just 11 minutes over the past four games combined, and is a likely trade candidate. Last season, Asik averaged a double-double with 10.1 PPG and 11.7 RPG.
Dallas has really upgraded its offense this season, scoring 105.7 PPG (5th in the league) while shooting 46.6% from the field (8th in NBA). The defense has not looked great though, giving up 102.7 PPG (7th-worst in league), including 111.5 PPG allowed on 50.2% FG in its four losses. PF Dirk Nowitzki (19.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG) continues to be an offensive threat at age 35 and led the Mavericks in points with 22 when they faced the Rockets earlier this season. Nowitzki has averaged 22.3 PPG (48.1% FG) and 7.4 RPG in 56 career games against Houston. Taking over as the main offensive weapon for Dallas this season has been SG Monta Ellis (22.1 PPG, 5.5 APG), who scored 20 points on 7-of-19 shooting with three steals against the Rockets in the second game of the year. However, he also had five turnovers and just one assist in that defeat. However, Ellis has done well against Houston in his career with 21.3 PPG (49% FG), 4.1 APG and 4.0 RPG in 21 career games. SF Shawn Marion (12.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 1.2 BPG) has done a little bit of everything this season on the hardwood, and had some of his best games in three meetings with Houston last season (18.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG).