Houston (36-38) at Cleveland (52-21)
When: Tuesday, March 29th 2016
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TNT
The slumping Houston Rockets will try and hold onto the last Western Conference playoff spot when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. The Rockets have dropped four of five overall and find themselves just a half a game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks for the 8th and final spot in the West. Houston is one of four teams in a battle for the last three playoff spots. Houston is coming off a 104-101 loss at Indiana on Sunday and have now lost four straight on the road. After tonight’s game in Cleveland, the Rockets will play five of their last seven at home. All-Star James Harden continues to lead the offense as he fell just short of a triple-double (31, 8, 8) in the loss to the Pacers. Two nights earlier, he did complete the triple-double in a home win over the East’s second-best team – Toronto Raptors. The rest of the team went cold on Sunday shooting 7-of-33 from beyond the arc in the loss. Houston will end the season with five-straight games against sub-.500 teams, but must take on Cleveland, Chicago, and Oklahoma City first.
The Cavaliers rebounded from a horrible 104-95 loss at Brooklyn on Thursday with a 107-93 win at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Cleveland is gearing up for the final two weeks of the regular season and hope to pin down the top seed in the Eastern Conference in which they have led all season. They still hold a 2.5 game lead of Toronto for the top spot and will play six of their final games after tonight against teams that are .500 or better. The win in New York was keyed by LeBron James and his 42nd career triple-double and has elevated his play as of late. James is averaging 31.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists in the last four games. Channing Frye, who was brought in to help out with the long-distance shooting, is just 1-for-14 from three-point land in the last three games. Cleveland got the better of Houston last time out on the road 91-77 and held Harden to just 11 points on 2-of-10 shooting and forced him to turn the ball over eight times.
It looks as if LeBron James will be sitting this game out to rest. I still think Cleveland has a better roster and more depth to make up for it. I’ll take the Cavs.
Pick: Cavaliers -1.5