HOUSTON ROCKETS (29-25)
at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (37-17)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -10.5, Total: 208
The Clippers are looking to win their third straight game, when they face a Rockets team in town to complete their back-to-back stretch on Wednesday night.
Houston has been an outstanding wager in the past three weeks, going 8-2 ATS (7-3 SU) since Jan. 25, including 4-2 ATS (3-3 SU) on the road during this stretch. But they will be without star SG James Harden (26.1 PPG, 5.7 APG) in this game after he sustained an ankle injury on Tuesday. Los Angeles just finished an eight-game "Grammy" road trip in style by beating both the Knicks and 76ers handily, by 14 and 17 points, respectively. Now the Clips return home where they are an impressive 20-5 SU (16-9 ATS) this season. Los Angeles has also had a leg up in this series in the past two seasons, winning all four meetings with a 3-1 ATS mark. The last meeting between these teams on Jan. 15 ended with L.A. winning by a score of 117-109.
Can the Rockets keep this game close without the services of James Harden? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. For NBA Best Bets, StatFox Scott is in the midst of a monster run, going 14-2 ATS (88%) since Feb. 3, and improving his record to an impressive 57.1% ATS (84-63-1) for the season. The experts are a collective 48-34 ATS (59%) in the month of February. StatFox Gary is 6-3 ATS (67%) in the past eight days, while StatFox Dave is 14-12 ATS (54%) during the month. For NBA Totals, the experts are a strong 41-31-1 (57%) in the past 19 days with Gary at 16-9 (64%) and StatFox Brian going 13-10-1 (57%) since Jan. 25. For the season, Scott is a whopping 57% (74-57) in Totals, while Gary is a profitable 52% (67-62-4).
The Rockets are coming off of a big win over the Warriors on Tuesday night, prevailing 116-107. They have now scored at least 108 points in nine straight games, averaging 117.3 PPG on 51% FG and 40% threes. Unfortunately for Houston, SG James Harden really bothered his ankle in that win over Golden State. Harden, who was already playing with an injured knee, had 27 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in the win over the Warriors. PG Jeremy Lin (12.6 PPG, 6.1 APG) is the player who is going to have to step up in Hardenís absence, and he has been playing quite well over the past five games, averaging 16.6 PPG (49% FG, 56% threes) and 6.4 APG. It will be different, however, without Harden drawing away most of the attention. SF Chandler Parsons (14.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG) is another important player for Houston who knows heíll need to be at his best with Harden out. The second year player out of Florida is averaging 15.0 PPG, 5.6 APG and 3.6 RPG over the past five games. He does a lot of the dirty work for Houston, and really filled up the stat sheet on Tuesday with 21 points (9-of-15 FG), nine assists and eight rebounds. Parsons also scored 17 points on 7-of-10 FG versus the Clippers last month.
The Clippers are a different team when PG Chris Paul (16.6 PPG, 9.5 APG) is on the floor. They were struggling a little bit with PG Eric Bledsoe running the show, but they have now won two straight games behind Paulís brilliant play. After 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds against the Knicks on Sunday, Paul had 21 points to go along with 11 assists and 5 steals against the Sixers. Paul shot 9-of-11 from the field in that game while forcing 76ers star PG Jrue Holiday to shoot just 4-for-14 from the field. SG Jamal Crawford (17.1 PPG) has also been huge for the Clippers, averaging 23.5 PPG off the bench over the past two contests. Against the Sixers, he was 8-for-10 from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point range in what was one of his most efficient outings of the season. Crawford pumped in 30 points against Houston earlier this season. PF Blake Griffin (18.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG) had a great game against Philly as well with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists in just 28 minutes. He scored 19 points with eight rebounds in last month's win at Houston.