This Sunday’s game between the Houston Rockets and the Miami Heat should be a very fun one to watch and to bet on. Miami and Houston both topped 100 points in regulation time in their previous meeting. Neither team plays overwhelmingly good defense, so a show should be witnessed on national television.
The Houston Rockets have put in a lot of good work over the past few months. They’re right in the thick of the race for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They’re keeping pace with the Los Angeles Clippers and have passed the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference standings. Dwight Howard has been a productive player, putting his turmoil-filled Los Angeles Laker career behind him. Houston is a very hard team to defend, and Miami learned this when it lost to the Rockets, 106-103, a few weeks ago in Texas. Houston spreads the floor for shooters and scorers on the perimeter, but Howard then has man-to-man coverage in the middle and can operate without a double-team coming his way. Miami will have to figure out how to deal with the Rockets’ attack.
As for Miami’s offense, the Heat were contained by the Brooklyn Nets in a loss on Wednesday night. The Heat didn’t hit 100 points in their previous two games against Washington or Chicago. This team is undeniably struggling, and against Houston, it will need to find a higher level of performance. Playing on national television might help. What will probably help more is playing at home. The Heat know how to contain James Harden from his days as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. This feels like a game in which Miami will want to prove itself.
The Heat love it when they get to answer a challenge. This team likes having its manhood tested. Houston will do that and Miami will be ready.
Pick: Miami -5