James Harden left the Rockets on bad terms, which makes his return to Houston on Thursday much anticipated. Expect the Rockets’ effort to be better than what it has been, but they’re going to have their hands full defending the Beard in a statement game.
It was a terrible start to the season for Kelly Oubre at his new home in Golden State, but the former Sun has found his groove lately and has leapfrogged Andrew Wiggins as the Warriors’ second scorer.
From Oubre’s first four games in December he went at 26% from the field averaging just 7.8 points per game. January was slightly better but still a long way off the level we saw in Phoenix, shooting the ball at 40.2% from the field and 27% from three, averaging 13.1 points per game.
But February saw Oubre get to the level we all expected heading into this season. From his 15 games he averaged 20.1 points at 50% from the field and 43% from three.
More recently Oubre has cleared 17.5 points in five of the last seven games recording 20+ on four occasions, with the two games he fell short in being a 17-point effort against the Pacers and 14 last game against the Lakers – but he’d only play 26 minutes in a blowout loss.
He gets a nice look at the Trail Blazers on Thursday – their defensive posts come from Derrick Jones Jr and Robert Covington in the 3 and 4 spots, who will likely end up taking Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green due to their inability to post-up.
With this in mind, I’m slotting Oubre in as a shooting guard against Portland in which the Trail Blazers are the easiest team in the NBA for the 2-guard to score against over the last month, 15% above average.
Even when Oubre was struggling at the start of the season shooting the ball at 27% leading into his second game against Portland, he managed 17 points from 7/13 shooting. He’s playing much better now, so the Wolf expects him to clear his line with a chance of going 20+ at $2.30.
The Beard returns to Houston for this much anticipated match-up, and there’s no doubt this will be a statement game from James Harden.
Before we dig into Harden’s numbers let’s address the Houston Rockets – the absolutely suck. They’ve now lost the last 12 games by an average of 17.7 points going down by double digits in 9 of the 12 losses. Even if they get up for the Harden revenge narrative, they’re simply not good enough to win.
As for Harden, he’s coming off a 30/14/15 performance last game against the Spurs and while Kevin Durant remains out he’s going to continue to get on the glass having 8+ rebounds in 11 of his last 16 games.
After two straight games of single-figure assists, the 15-assist performance against the Spurs was a nice return for Harden and the Wolf expects another double-digit effort against the old team with the Rockets conceding assist to 2-guards 15% above average over the last month – the second easiest in the NBA.
With plenty of commentary from former teammates regarding Harden’s departure from Houston, I’m expecting a monster stat-line from the Beard.
Kelly Oubre Over 17.5 Points / Nets Win / Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Over 22.5 Points / Zion Williamson 25 Points = $6.24
NBA Same Game Multi Tips
Pistons (+7.5) / Norman Powell 20+ Points / Kyle Lowry 20+ Points = $4.33
Jazz (-2.5) / Rudy Gobert 10+ Points / Rudy Gobert Under 12.5 Rebounds = $4.75
Over 216.5 Points / Darius Garland Under 17.5 Points / Jarrett Allen Over 15.5 Points = $6.50
Nets (-7.5) / James Harden Over 8.5 Rebounds / James Harden 10+ Assists = $4.20
Trae Young Over 25.5 Points / Clint Capela Under 14.5 Points / Trae Young 8+ Assists = $4.50
Bulls (+5.5) / Coby White 15+ Points / Zion Williamson 25+ Points = $4.20
Hornets (-0.5) / Ricky Rubio 10+ Points / Anthony Edwards 15+ Points = $4.75
Mavericks Win / Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Over 22.5 Points / Darius Bazley Under 7.5 Rebounds = $4.75
Kelly Oubre Over 17.5 Points / Damian Lillard 30+ Points / Robert Covington Over 7.5 Rebounds = $5.00