The Houston Rockets averaged 128 points in two victories over Portland earlier this season and look to complete a three-game season sweep when they visit the Trail Blazers on Thursday. Star guard James Harden averaged 32 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds in the wins that came by an average of 16.5 points.
Portland is one of the hottest teams in the NBA with a 12-3 record in March and it holds a one-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference after registering a 122-113 victory over the Nuggets on Tuesday. “(The game) was a battle for the keys to the car,” standout point guard Damian Lillard told reporters. “We got the keys – now we have to control where it’s going. We know what the destination is, but we have to make sure to stay locked in to get it to where we need to go.” Houston is opening a three-game road trip and is close to clinching the third seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets dropped a 113-106 decision to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday after winning seven of their eight previous contests.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The Rockets hit the betting board as 1-point road favorites heading to Portland and has been bet up a full point to an even 2. The total opened at 228.5 and has been inching up since opening, currently up to 230. Check out the complete line history here.
Rockets – PF Montreal Harrell (Out, personal), PF Ryan Anderson (Mid April, ankle)
Trail Blazers – C Festus Ezeli (Out For Season, knee), PF Ed Davis (Out For Season, shoulder)
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Rockets (-9.4) – Trail Blazers (-2.6) + home court (-3) = Rockets – 3.8
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (51-23 SU, 42-32 ATS, 38-35-1 O/U): Harden racked up his 20th triple-double of the campaign with 24 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds against the Warriors but was struggling with an injured left wrist. Harden has played in all 74 games and said he has no interest in sitting out and will seek treatment and ice the wrist to make sure he is ready to go against the Trail Blazers. “It’s pretty tough, man, I’m not going to lie,” Harden told reporters. “I don’t like to feel sorry for myself at all, but just the shot is short and frustrating when you can’t really follow through and whatnot. I’m going to continue to go out there and do my best.”
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (36-38 SU, 34-40 ATS, 41-33 O/U): Center Jusuf Nurkic scored a career-best 33 points and recorded 16 rebounds against Denver – the organization that traded him to Portland in February. “He’s had this game circled since he got here,” shooting guard CJ McCollum told reporters. “We got the slogan for Big Nurk, ‘From the bench to the playoffs.'” The 22-year-old Nurkic is averaging 15 points and 10.4 rebounds in 19 games since joining the Trail Blazers and has become a huge fan favorite in Portland.
* Rockets are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Trail Blazers are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 vs. NBA Southwest.
* Over is 4-1 in Rockets last 5 vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
* Over is 4-1 in Trail Blazers last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Over is 9-2 in the last 11 meetings in Portland.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 67 percent of the point spread wagers on Covers are siding with the road chalk Houston Rockets and 70 percent of the totals picks are on the Over. View full consensus data here.