NBA Betting – Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

Now that their roster is complete the Los Angeles Clippers are starting to make a move to the top of the Western Conference standings. They are officially the hottest team in the NBA having won five straight games heading into Thursday’s encounter with the Houston Rockets. The Clips moved into second place in the West, which has six teams separated by only 5.5 games. Houston’s small lineup was abused by of all teams the Knicks on Monday as their six-game winning streak was stopped. Since employing their unconventional lineup the Rockets are 10-3.

Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets

Date and Time: Thursday, March 5, 2020, 8 p.m. ET

Location: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Opening NBA Odds: Houston -1, O/U 237

Clippers at Rockets TV Coverage: TNT

Odds Analysis

With just 2.5 games separating the teams in the West standings you’d expect this to be a close battle. Oddsmakers are thinking the same thing with the Rockets opening as a slight home favorite. Several clubs have owned the “hottest team in the NBA” moniker this season and right now it’s the Clips, who have won five in a row going 4-1 ATS. Though the names have changed over the years the series has remained close. The teams split the last 16 meetings with Houston winning twice this season, including 122-117 in LA in the most recent encounter. The Rockets are having success with their smaller approach to the game winning 10 of 13 since making the move to a non-traditional starting five. Their six-game winning streak was snapped on Monday by the Knicks dropping the Rockets to 1-3 ATS in their last four games.

Los Angeles Clippers

Doc Rivers could have earned a role on the TV show MacGyver the way he held the Clippers together through the first half of the season. Now that the roster is complete and Rivers has a loaded weapon the Clips have been unstoppable. Since getting Paul George and Patrick Beverley back from injuries, and having a full complement of players at their disposal, the Clippers have won five in a row, their longest streak since claiming seven straight from Nov. 16 to Nov. 27.

During their current winning steak the Clippers are averaging 120.6 points with four games having a double-digit margin and two decided by at least 27 points. In a crucial game against the Nuggets last week George led seven players in double figures with 24 points and Rivers called the 132-103 victory the best game of the season for his club. They didn’t let up taking down playoff teams Philadelphia and Oklahoma City in the last two.

George is a key piece to any success the Clippers are going to have. He missed time at the start of the season recovering from shoulder surgery and dealt with hamstring issues since making his debut limiting him to just 39 games. He’s averaging 21.1 points, but it’s not about the volume. PG brings another weapon to a lineup filled with players that can score the basketball. Kawhi Leonard is the top dog scoring 27.0 per game for a team that averages over 116.

Houston Rockets

It doesn’t really matter who the other three players are on the floor for the Rockets, the team revolves around the play of James Harden and Russell Westbrook. An injury to Clint Capela and his subsequent trade just made the duo of Harden and Russ more accountable for the direction of the team. The small strategy is quite ingenious allowing two dynamic offensive players to roam the floor and basically do whatever they want. The bottom line is they have to produce. When they do the results are positive. When they don’t the Rockets lose to the Knicks.

Harden and Westbrook have never been known as shutdown defenders. That’s an area they will need to improve on. Opponents will take advantage much like New York did on Monday. Houston was outrebounded 65-34 and outscored 64-36 in the paint. The result was a 125-123 loss and an end to their six-game winning streak.

Opening up the floor has allowed the Rockets to feast offensively. Since going to a small lineup 13 games ago they’re averaging 120.2 points, which includes a 91-point clunker without Russ. Their season average of 118.9 points ranks second in the NBA. However, Harden was just 8 of 22 from the floor with 10 missed triples. Spreading the court for two prolific offensive players is great as long as they execute.

Bet Clippers at Rockets at BookMaker.eu

Still a work in progress now that they have a full roster available the Clippers are exploring who they are. By the looks of things they are pretty good. They have the firepower to match Houston and are deeper with Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams coming off the bench. They also have two top defenders in Leonard and Beverley and you could even throw George into the mix. The Clips will win this one with their defense.

NBA Score Prediction: Los Angeles 123, Houston 118

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- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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