Houston (25-22) at San Antonio (38-7)
When: Wednesday, January 27th 2016
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: ESPN
The San Antonio Spurs return home with their tails between their legs as they host the Houston Rockets. The Spurs were humiliated on Monday night in Golden State 120-90 and were never in the game. “It was like men and boys out there (Monday), I thought, as far as the toughness and the aggressiveness was concerned,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. The Spurs were outscored in every quarter and committed 26 turnovers while shooting just 41.9%. Tim Duncan sat the game out to rest his knee, but even he wouldn’t have made a difference in this one. Kawhi Leonard led the team with 16 points, but played just 25 minutes as the bench took over in the second half of the blowout. The 120 points were the most San Antonio has allowed all season and only the eighth time they have surrendered over 100. They still own the best defense in the NBA as far as points allowed, but that total went from 89.8 to 90.4. The Spurs are a perfect 24-0 at home this season – best in the NBA. San Antonio has taken four of the last five in the series and has not lost to Houston at home since Christmas of 2013.
The Rockets are riding a three-game winning streak and are playing the second of three straight road games that win conclude Friday in Oklahoma City. Houston has scored over their 104.9 average in nine of their last eleven games including the 112-111 win at New Orleans on Monday. James Harden led the way with 35 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, but was limited to just 17 points in a 121-103 loss at San Antonio on January 2nd. Harden is averaging 30.3 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the last four games. Harden is getting plenty of help of late from small forward Trevor Ariza, who is averaging 30 points in the last two games while going 14-of-20 from 3-point range. Rockets C Dwight Howard (14.4 points, 12.2 rebounds) missed the last three games and remains day-to-day with an ankle injury. Houston currently owns the 7th seed in the West, 3.5 games clear of Sacramento for the last spot. That would put them in position to play these same Spurs in the Playoffs if things ended this way.
Houston has enough fire-power to stay with the Spurs and the Rockets are shooting well right now. The Spurs will probably want to come out and prove they put the Golden State loss behind them, but ten points is a lot.
Pick: Rockets +10