Houston (25-23) at Oklahoma City (35-13)
When: Friday, January 29th 2016
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBA TV
The Houston Rockets will try and make it six wins in a row against the Oklahoma City Thunder when the teams meet on Friday night. These teams have both scored over 100 points in those last five games except for an odd 69-65 game in November of 2014. The Rockets had won three in a row before being put in their place in San Antonio on Wednesday. The Spurs shot 55.6% from the floor including 12-of-23 from three-point range in beating Houston 130-99. Star James Harden led the Rockets with 20 points, but he and Dwight Howard sat most of the second half and should be fresh for tonight’s game. Howard had missed the previous four games dealing with an ankle injury and had 13 points, 8 rebounds, and was 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Trevor Ariza has started to heat up and is 16-of-25 from 3-point range in the last three games. Defense has been a problem for Houston all season. They rank 27th in points allowed (106.1), 26th in FG% defense (46.6), and 22nd in three-point defense (36.4). They’ve give up way above their average in the last six games (117.6). Houston still is firmly in the playoffs as the 7th seed – 3.5 games clear of Utah (9th).
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The Thunder return home exhausted after a successful 3-1 road trip. They outlasted the Knicks in overtime 128-122 on Tuesday then squeaked by the Timberwolves the next night 126-123. “I’m really proud of our guys on this trip,” Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan told reporters. “I give these guys a lot of credit for having some resiliency and perseverance to battle through it when all the time it didn’t look pretty.” Oklahoma City has won 24 of their last 29 games overall and nine of their last ten. The Thunder bench picked up 45 points in the win over Minnesota with Enes Kanter scoring 23 and pulling down 10 boards. It was the fourth time in the last six games that Kanter (11.6 points a game) has reached double-digits. The duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have been pretty dominant. Westbrook 25 assists and 16 rebounds in the last two games, while Durant has scored over 20 points in every game this season except one when he went out with an injury. The Thunder will host the Wizards and Magic to complete their three-game homestand.
It’s really hard to go against Oklahoma City right now, but the Rockets seem to have their number. Houston has not only won five in a row from the Thunder, they have covered in four of them. I’ll take the points tonight.
Tonight’s Fantasy Picks: Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka
Pick: Rockets +7.5