Thursday night’s NBA schedule on TNT this week features a big battle in the Western Conference, as the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Houston Rockets. The late game has the Toronto Raptors traveling to face the Golden State Warriors.
Thursday night’s NBA schedule on TNT this week features a big battle in the Western Conference, as the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Houston Rockets. The late game has the Toronto Raptors traveling to face the Golden State Warriors. The Clippers and Rockets are battling for second place in the West, and each is considered a contender to the Lakers. The late game looks to be a mismatch, as the Raptors have the second-best record in the East, while the Warriors have the worst record in the West. Let’s look at both games and Thursday night TNT NBA picks.
Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets
Opening NBA Odds: Check Back Later
The Clippers and Rockets are in a fight for second place
along with the Denver Nuggets. The Clippers are thought of as a team that can
challenge the Lakers, but the Rockets could also be getting into that category.
Houston has gone to small ball and it is working. Head coach Mike D’Antoni said
that teams can no longer double team James Harden on a regular basis. "I
think in certain situations, what we're seeing now is he gets doubled sometimes
in the pick-and-roll," D'Antoni said to the media, "End of clock,
they might double him. But I think the random, as-soon-as-he-crosses-half-court
double, is gone."
The biggest reason Harden isn’t getting doubled as much is Russell Westbrook. Harden is averaging almost 35 points per game, while Westbrook is averaging over 28 points per game. The Rockets have been excellent with Harden and Westbrook on the floor together in this small ball, as they won 10 of 12 since making the change. Teams can’t double both Harden and Westbrook and that means the Rockets are tough to stop.
The Clippers are coming off a game at the Thunder on Tuesday. The Rockets were in New York on Monday and then had Tuesday and Wednesday off.
These teams have split their last ten meetings, with five of the last six going over the total. The Rockets have won 7 of the last 10 at home in this series, with six of the ten going over.
Clippers at Rockets Free Picks
The Rockets look like a team that can really challenge for an NBA title and this is a statement game on Thursday night. I will take Houston in this contest.
Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors
Opening NBA Odds: Check Back Later
The Raptors have not played that well of late and it looks like injuries are finally catching up to them. Their lead over Boston for second place in the East is pretty much gone. The Raptors were without Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet on Sunday and they were blown out in Denver. Another problem for Toronto lately is that Pascal Siakim isn’t playing well. He is shooting just over 36% from the field in the last three games. Toronto is coming off a game in Phoenix on Tuesday. Golden State is coming off a game in Denver on Tuesday.
Toronto is averaging about 113 points per game and giving up about 106 points per contest. Golden State is averaging 106 points per game but giving up 115 per contest.
As I say when handicapping Golden State games, you have to throw out most of the previous stats because this year’s Golden State team is a mess. Next season when the team is healthy and has Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson then previous trends will be important again.
Raptors vs. Warriors Free Picks
The Warriors are a bad team going nowhere this season and even at home, they are tough to take. Toronto simply can’t afford to be losing a game against an inferior team, so I will lay the points and take the Raptors in this one.
Check out the latest NBA odds at the online sportsbook.