Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
Date and Time: Saturday, November 10, 2018, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: ATT Center, San Antonio, TX
Opening NBA Odds: Check Back Later
Rockets at Spurs TV Coverage: NBA TV
The Rockets put a bunch of long winning streaks together last season and cruised to 65 wins and the best record in the NBA. Every season is different, but the Rockets have fallen dramatically with just four wins in their first 10 games this season. It looked like things were starting to turnaround for the Rockets after their record dropped to 1-5 with a 19-point home loss to Portland.
Hitting the road, Houston strung some wins together for the first time with three straight victories. That came to a screeching halt on Thursday when they were held to 80 points in a loss to Oklahoma City, which was playing without Russell Westbrook. While we’ve seen Houston’s defense improve since the beginning of the year, the offense continues to be mired in a wicked slump. The Rockets’ point total on Thursday was the lowest in Mike D’Antoni’s tenure and they’ve failed to break 100 in the last three outings.
It’s easy to blame Harden for the lack of points and that’s a fair judgment. However, this has been a team slump and the Rockets are showing no signs of breaking out. Harden scored 19 points in OKC, but he made just 7 of 19 shots. The team’s top three scorers, Harden, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, combined for 31 points on 12 of 41 shooting.
Management is second-guessing the decision to sign Anthony. Melo is a defensive liability and when he doesn’t make up for it on offense, there really is no use for him. He scored two points thanks to a goaltending call on Thursday. The Rockets cashed the under in their last three games and in four of the last five. They’ve also been one of the worst teams to wager with 3-7 ATS mark.
Following their second straight loss, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called his team soft. The master motivator is at it again, but he has reason to be upset. The Spurs allowed Miami’s Hassan Whiteside to nearly reach a triple-double, falling one blocked shot shy of the rare trifecta. Whiteside dominated with 29 points, 20 boards and nine blocks. The Spurs had no answer. At least they won’t have to face anyone of Whiteside’s dimensions on Saturday since the Rockets have no one.
Houston owned one of the most efficient offenses last season, averaging over 112 points per game with a scoring margin of plus-8.5, which was the best in the NBA. It’s been a struggle this year with the Rockets averaging just 102.8 points and shooting 42 percent from the floor. They’ve scored less than 90 three times already this season, matching their total of sub-90 games from the last two years combined.
What to Watch For
Although they are back in the state of Texas, the Rockets are finishing off a five-game road trip that started well enough before hitting a brick wall on Thursday. And given their woes at home, Harden and Co. better rack up as many W’s as they can. Houston hasn’t had a lot of success in San Antonio over the past few seasons. Since the 2014-15 campaign the Rockets are just 3-8, including playoffs, at the ATT Center while going 5-6 against the spread.
Rockets at Spurs NBA Picks
The Rockets had won three straight before the OKC game, but they continue to have difficulties scoring the basketball. At least the defense played well allowing them to win those contests even though they failed to score 100 points. The return of Eric Gordon should help the attack and getting rid of Anthony sooner rather than later will save the Rockets season. The Spurs had their own issues scoring in a loss to Miami, but playing at home where they’ve had a spell on Harden for the last few seasons, is exactly what San Antonio needs to cover the NBA betting line at top-rated sportsbooks.
Rockets at Spurs Score Prediction: Spurs 107, Rockets 99