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Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks Predictions, Picks and Preview – February 20, 2015

Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks Predictions, Picks and Preview – February 20, 2015

The Dallas Mavericks were supposed to rest up and regroup to start anew post All-Star break. They started cold as they were blown out 104-89 by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. Things don’t get any easier for the Mavericks as they travel back home to welcome James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

Will the Mavs take more time to shake off the rust? Read on as we break down this red-hot Western Conference matchup.

The East isn’t backing down in providing some exciting matchups. The Cavaliers vs. Wizards and Raptors vs. Hawks games also promise to be spectacular affairs for Friday night hoops.

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Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas

When: Friday, February 21, 8:30 PM ET

Line: Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks – view all NBA lines

Betting on the Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets are in quite a favorable position after the All-Star break despite starting on the road. They’ve won their last three games against Dallas both straight up and against the spread. They’re also catching Dallas on the second leg of a back-to-back.

James Harden has been a thorn on Dallas’ side this season. He’s averaged 24.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and six assists over the past two matchups.

[sc:NBA240banner ]What makes Harden so devastating is his ability to sink outside shots as well as get himself to the charity stripe. He has hit 5-of-12 three-pointers against the Mavericks and has hit 14-of-16 of foul shots this season. The Mavs just so happen to give up quite a few of those, having sent their opponents to the free-throw line an average of 25 times in their last three games while allowing 8.7 three-pointers made per game.

Speaking of three-pointers, Houston can definitely pour it on from downtown. They’re averaging a league-high 11.8 three-pointers per game. Aside from Harden, Trevor Ariza and Josh Smith have been pretty solid from downtown. They combined for seven threes in the Rockets’ last meeting against Dallas.

While the Rockets may end up winning the outside battle, they may continue to struggle inside the paint. They’ll still be without their premier center Dwight Howard as he undergoes treatment for his injured knee. Howard’s replacement, Joey Dorsey has been less-than-stellar against the Mavs with two points and five rebounds in two games this season.

Paltry numbers from Dorsey should prompt more effort from power forward Donatas Montiejunas. He’s averaging 15 points and 8.5 rebounds against Dallas this season with one double-double performance in November.

The Rockets have won four of their last six on the road.

Betting on the Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki

Dalls had a tough start to the second half of its season. The Mavericks shot a season-low 36.3 percent as they were routed by the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. Most of the Mavs starters had it rough. Point guard Rajon Rondo finished with five points on 2-of-9 shooting and six assists in his first game since missing six due to fractured bones in his face. Monta Ellis went 2-for-13 from the field, while Chandler Parsons shot 3-for-12.

Dirk Nowtizki finished with 14 points as one of only two starters to finish with double-digit scores Thursday. He’s averaged 21 points and 9.7 rebounds in his last three games against the Rockets, all losses. The Mavs need Nowitzki at the top of his game, especially if the rest of their starters continue to struggle.

Tyson Chandler was the other starter to score in double-digits. He had an off day from the floor (40 percent), but he did pick up his fourth double-double in his past five games with 10 points and 13 rebounds (seven came off the offensive board).

Considering Houston will be missing Howard, Chandler should set himself up for a big game. He’s averaging in double-double figures against the Rockets this season with averages of 10.5 points and 14 rebounds over two games.

The Mavs are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six home games against Houston.

Writer’s Prediction

Houston’s sharpshooters rain threes on Dallas. Take the Rockets to win and cover on the road.

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Kevin
Written by Kevin

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