We are now entering the third month of the NBA season and injuries are beginning to play a major role. Tonight’s two national TV games are a perfect example as key players are either missing or questionable for each team.
HOUSTON at CLEVELAND (-7 ½, 191) (TNT)
The Rockets snapped their five game losing streak with a 123-111 upset win at Washington as a 5 ½ point underdog on Tuesday. The Rockets dominated the game and led by as many as 26 points and shot an excellent 55% from the field. It was only the sixth time all season that Houston had scored 100+ points and only the second time they shot above 49% FG on offense. Tracy McGrady led the team with 38 points, while Juwan Howard added 24 points and played well above his average of 9.4 ppg.
The Rockets continue to play without center Yao Ming who is out with a toe injury. Ming is second on the team in scoring (19.9 ppg) and leads the squad in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and blocks (1.4 bpg).
Cleveland is coming off a big win last night at Milwaukee, 91-84, in which the Cavaliers overcame a five-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter. Cleveland also had to play without guard Larry Hughes who missed the game with a finger injury and is listed as questionable tonight. Hughes is second on the team in scoring (16.2 ppg) and steals (1.5 spg) and third on the squad in assists (3.9 apg).
The Cavaliers have now gone 8-1 SU/ATS over their past nine games, with six of those eight wins coming at home. This is no surprise as Cleveland has been extremely strong at home this season, going 13-3 SU (12-4 ATS).
INDIANA at GOLDEN STATE (-8) (TNT)
The Pacers are struggling since their 5-1 SU/ATS run in mid-December and they have gone just 1-5 SU/ATS over their past six games, including a 106-86 loss at Denver last night. Indiana was short-handed as both Jermaine O’Neal and Jamaal Tinsley missed the game.
O’Neal is battling pneumonia and is listed as questionable tonight. He leads the team in scoring (22.3 ppg), rebounding (10.0 rpg), and blocks (2.3 bpg). Tinsley is questionable this evening with a biceps injury and he leads the team in assists (5.4 apg) and steals (1.5 spg) and is third in scoring (11.5 ppg).
Golden State has been a very streaky team this season and after a 0-5 SU run in mid-December, they have since gone 3-1 SU over the past four games. The Warriors have struggled on defense and they have allowed 48% FG or higher in ten of their past eleven games.
Golden State is likely without one of their best defenders tonight as center Adonal Foyle is unlikely to play due to back problems. Foyle averages 23.3 minutes per game and leads the squad in blocks (1.7 bpg).
Home court has been strong in this series, with the home team going 6-1 SU/ATS the past four years, including a perfect 2-0 SU/ATS last season.