James Harden makes his return to Houston with his new team when the Brooklyn Nets visit the Rockets on Wednesday night.
The Nets just had their eight-game win streak snapped by the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. The Nets bounced back against the Spurs and have now won nine of their last 10 games as they go up against the coldest team in the NBA, the Rockets.
This will be Harden’s first matchup against his former team, who he played with for eight full seasons and won a league MVP award with.
When I said the Rockets were the coldest team in the NBA, I meant it. The Rockets have lost 11 games in a row. Yes, you read that right.
The Rockets have yet to have a fully healthy roster for a full game. With big man Christian Wood in and out of the lineup mixed with the lack of chemistry between John Wall and Victor Oladipo and the lack of an identity, this team is in big trouble going forward if it can’t adjust and close out games.
Brooklyn Nets betting preview: Return of the king
Harden will be making his first return to Houston since being traded on Jan. 13. Since leaving the Rockets, Harden has averaged 26 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds a game for the Nets.
One fun fact to note is the Nets’ “big three” of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Harden have only shared the same court together twice all season. The Nets just won eight of their last nine games, and without Harden, I don’t think they win half of those games.
The Nets continue to improve on defense, even though it was so bad, the only way to go was up from the NBA’s worst defensive rating of all time 119.3. It’s now down to 113.1, still not that impressive but obviously better than what it once was.
The Nets also continue to have the number one offense in the league, ahead of the Bucks and Jazz with 121.9 points per game. As previously stated, the Nets won eight of nine possible games, and they covered the spread as a favorite and an underdog in every single one of those games.
Houston Rockets betting preview: Houston, we have several problems
The Rockets have not been having the season they had hoped for when they traded for Wall and Oladipo in separate deals. Wall has continued to miss chunks of games at a time, and when the two of them are on the court together, they can’t replace half of the production Harden gave the team.
The Rockets currently sit at 11-22, good for 14th in the Western Conference and also the third-worst record in the NBA behind the Pistons and Timberwolves.
With the third-worst record comes even worse betting stats. The Rockets are dead last in the NBA against the spread with a record of 11-22, which means they cover only 33% of the time.
With each game the Rockets lose, their future looks that much brighter with all of the draft picks they got for Harden and with the cap space they’ll save from Oladipo opting out of a contract extension. The Rockets will be back in the NBA championship conversation in no time.
Brooklyn vs. Houston odds and pick
Oddsmakers have the Nets favored by 9.5 points with the over/under set at 233.5.
My free pick of the night is Nets -9.5 and the over of 228.5.
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