HOUSTON ROCKETS (39-18)
at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (39-20)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -6, Total: 221
Two of the top teams in the Western Conference, the Rockets and Clippers, both look to extend their win streaks to three games when they meet Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Houston has been on an absolute tear lately, winning 10 of its past 11 contests (8-3 ATS). The club took care of the Kings easily on Tuesday night, defeating them 129-103 while shooting an incredible 57% from the field and hitting 11-of-22 shots from beyond the arc. Los Angeles is 4-2 SU (3-3 ATS) since superstar PG Chris Paul returned the court, and the club capped off its three-game road trip by scoring 124.0 PPG on 52% FG in back-to-back wins over the Thunder and Pelicans. The Rockets have been a great road team this season with a 3-1 mark (SU and ATS) on their current road trip, and a 17-11 SU road record overall (15-13 ATS). But they will be facing one of the top home teams in the NBA, as the Clippers have gone 23-5 SU (14-14 ATS) as the host team this season. These two clubs met twice over a six-day span back in early November with Los Angeles winning both contests by an average of 16.0 PPG while shooting 50% from the floor and 39% threes. The Clippers are a dominant 7-1 SU (5-3 ATS) over the past three seasons in this matchup, and have a five-game home winning streak (3-2 ATS) against the Rockets. L.A. is only 5-16 ATS (24%) in home games after playing two consecutive road games over the past three seasons, but is 17-8 ATS (68%) after allowing 105 points or more this season. With Houston C Dwight Howard (knee) listed as probable, the only key player missing for this game is Clippers SG J.J. Redick (hip), who is out for 2-to-4 more weeks.
Can the Clippers retain their recent dominance over the Rockets with a sizable victory? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five StatFox experts have been heating up in NBA Best Bets recently with a 58% ATS record (33-24-1) since Feb. 10. StatFox Dave has a stellar 60% ATS (37-25-1) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 55% ATS (47-39-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Zach has a strong 59% ATS mark (34-24-3) on Best Bets since Dec. 1 and is 54% ATS (45-38-3) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Brian is really catching fire, going 70% ATS (16-7-1) since Jan. 25 and 60% ATS (31-21-1) in Best Bets since Dec. 12.
Houston has used its high-octane offense to win games, as the club is averaging 106.1 PPG on 47.5% FG this season (3rd in NBA in both), including an amazing 118.0 PPG on 48.9% FG over its past five contests. While the Rockets have been great on the offensive side of the ball, their defense has suffered, allowing opponents to score 101.8 PPG for the season (20th in league) and 107.4 PPG in the past five games. SG James Harden (24.7 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.7 RPG) is coming off a huge game against the Kings on Tuesday when he scored 43 points (6-of-9 threes) with eight assists in just 31 minutes. Harden has averaged 33.8 PPG over his past five contests, but has only 11.9 PPG (34% FG) in 14 career games (4 starts) when facing the Clippers. This includes a paltry 13.5 PPG on 32% FG and 1-of-13 threes in the two defeats against them this season. C Dwight Howard (18.9 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 1.9 BPG) left Tuesday’s game with an apparent knee injury, but did return to finish the game with 20 points (7-of-9 FG) and 11 rebounds, which is his seventh double-double in the past eight games (22.4 PPG, 14.0 RPG). In his 21 career meetings with Los Angeles, Howard has averaged a strong 19.1 PPG (59% FG), 11.9 RPG and 2.3 BPG, tallying 17.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 1.5 BPG in two losses this season. SF Chandler Parsons (16.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG) has struggled with his offense in the past two contests (11.5 PPG, 40% FG), but has contributed nicely in other areas with 7.0 RPG and 5.5 APG. He has done his best to get wins against the Clippers this season, netting 18.5 PPG (54% FG) to go along with 5.0 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.5 SPG in the two defeats.
While Houston has been great on offense, the Clippers have been even better this season, averaging 107.3 PPG (2nd in NBA) on 47.3% FG (6th in league). These numbers have jumped to 113.8 PPG on 48.8% FG over their past five contests. They have played similar defense as the Rockets as well though, and have allowed a bloated 111.8 PPG on 47.6% FG over their past five games and 101.3 PPG for the season. PG Chris Paul (19.0 PPG, 11.2 APG, 2.5 SPG) has a double-double in three straight games, including 19 points and 13 assists in Monday's win over the Pelicans. He has owned the Rockets in the two games this season while netting 18.5 PPG (46% FG), dishing out 15.0 APG, grabbing 4.0 RPG and swiping 2.0 SPG. PF Blake Griffin (24.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG) has averaged 28.9 PPG (56% FG) during a 17-game streak of scoring 20+ points, and has scored 20.0 PPG (59% FG) with 7.0 RPG in two games against Houston this season. Griffin has also done well against them over 12 career games, averaging 18.0 PPG (49% FG) with 9.4 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.4 SPG. SG Jamal Crawford (19.1 PPG, 3.3 APG) has been tearing it up with SG J.J. Redick out, scoring 25.2 PPG (49% FG, 41% threes) with 4.0 APG in 11 February games. He has even done better this season against the Rockets, scoring 18.5 PPG (43% FG, 8-of-15 threes) compared to the 15.7 PPG (41% FG, 40% threes) that he has averaged over 30 career games (15 starts) against them.