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NBA Rockets at Spurs Preview

January 24, 2007

NBA Basketball - Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs (-8, 180) 9:00 PM EST

The last time Houston visited the Rio Grand River just before Christmas, they ended nine years of frustration in beating San Antonio for the first time in seventeen games in the southwestern city. In that conquest Yao Ming was the catalyst, scoring 22 points and helped limit the Spurs to below 80 points for just the second time all season. Now the Rockets will have to depend on other resources if hope to similar results this time around.

Ming is out with a broken leg and Houston will have the torturous task of having to win in place where breaks have been far and few between and they are sliding with three consecutive losses. Facing a steady diet of offensive minded teams recently has cost the Rockets their number one position in points allowed. Without Ming opposing teams are more inclined to go to the basket and are taking away the controlled tempo from the Houston. The last four games have seen the Rockets allowing unnerving 110 points compared to season average 90.5. Since Ming's inauspicious departure, Houston is 9-5 and 7-8 ATS.

The Spurs might be bouncing back from mid-season blahs with three straight triumphs and 7 of last 9. The strangling defense has returned, with San Antonio only giving up more then 90 points once in last seven wins. For Greg Popovich's team, this is an important game for confidence building. A win tonight and Friday against miserable Memphis gives them a five game winning streak before they head out on a treacherous trip that will not see them return home until February 20 other then for the All-Star break.

The line at sportsbook.com will be similar to many in the past, with San Antonio a 7.5-point choice, with a total of 181. Over the last three seasons, these teams have played Under 8 of 10 times. The Spurs are 14-4 UNDER revenging a straight up loss vs. opponent as a home favorite. Houston has a tendency to play the same way with 22-9 UNDER mark in road games versus very good teams, outscoring their opponents by 6+ points a game in the second half of the season.

The Rockets have a mixed bag of trends that include them 0-7 ATS after scoring 105 points or more in last game this season. The other side has Houston 12-2 ATS in road games after 3 or more consecutive losses.

Discuss this matchup and all of Wednesday's NBA card in the NBA basketball betting forum.


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